NEWLY appointed deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Sunil Bhardwaj alias Lohar is the talk of Ulhasnagar for adopting a novel method to collect the monthly hafta, a system never seen before in the history of the state police department. Bhardwaj allegedly called for tenders for monthly hafta collection. A constable from Thane emerged victorious in the bidding and deposited Rs 50 lakh in cash before diligently settling down to his new job. Last month Sunil Bhardwaj was appointed as DCP Ulhasnagar. Earlier he was in Thane police headquarters. He replaced Vasant Jadhav.
There is a tradition in the police department that after taking charge of new posting the DCP, ACP and Sr Inspector raid various establishments. What it really means is that the officer wants his hafta to continue in the new area. But Bhardwaj is two steps ahead. After taking up the DCP chair, Bhardwaj interviewed many constables and asked them to collect hafta for him. Bhardwaj put a proposal (tender) before them that a constable will be eligible if he deposits Rs 50 lakh in advance. Bhardwaj said that he has bought this (DCP Ulhasnagar) chair for Rs 1 crore. He has paid Rs 50,00,000 but remaining Rs 50,00,000 he wants from his hafta “collector.” He put up another proposal that he will take four times more than previous DCP Vasant Jadhav; if Vasant Jadhav was taking Rs 25,000 from one establishment he will take Rs 1,25,000. Ulhasnagar citizens knew that Vasant Jadhav was very corrupt officer. Jadhav has tried to extort double through Constable Ramdas Misal, his ‘collection agent’, but failed.
Bhardwaj interviewed Constable Ramdas Misal also. Misal is an expert in collecting hafta from establishments. A source said that Misal has partnership in three orchestra bars, of five paisa each.
Misal refused the proposal stating he cannot collect four times more than Vasant Jadhav. He was also not ready to deposit Rs 50 lakh in advance. No constable accepted Bhardwaj’s proposal. Finally he appointed Shyam Patil for this job. Shyam Patil is a constable and was attached with Thane police headquarters. He is on good terms with Bhardwaj. Sources said Shyam Patil immediate deposited Rs 25 lakh and promised to deposit remaining Rs 25 lakh very soon.
After taking charge of new task, Shyam Patil sent a message to all orchestra bars, illegal beer bars, lodges, video game centres, internet game centres, social clubs, matka operators and ganja smugglers to pay four times more monthly hafta to new DCP. Chaos spread among businessmen. They refused to pay four times more. Angry Bhardwaj started raiding orchestra bars and registering FIRs. The action is continuing.
There are around 8 orchestra bars, 125 beer bars and 25 lodges in Ulhasnagar city. These establishments pay Rs 60,000 to senior inspectors, Rs 25,000 to ACP and Rs 30,000 to DCP honestly and regularly.
From Lohar to Bhardwaj :
Three brothers—Manoj Lohar, Sunil Lohar and Nitin Lohar—are sons of former IPS officer P T Lohar. Manoj, Sunil and Nitin were recruited as deputy superintendents of police (Dy SP) following an examination conducted by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) in 1997. These Lohar brothers had conspired and tampered with the examination process and had produced fake caste certificates. Then home minister R R Patil had sacked these three Lohar brothers for allegedly using unfair means to get themselves elected as Dy SP. To hide identity, Sunil Bhardwaj changed his surname from Lohar to Bhardwaj .