A day after registering a case against a senior Revenue Office, sleuths of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) of Jammu and Kashmir trapped and caught red-handed the Station House Officer (SHO) of Srinagar's Pantha Chowk Police Station for accepting a bribe from a contractor in lieu of submitting a report of his seized machine.

Inspector Azim Iqbal Khan and his tout Mushtaq Ahmad Abassi were arrested for demanding a bribe of Rs 8 lakh from the contractor.

A spokesperson of the ACB said that a written complaint was received wherein it was alleged that Inspector Azim Khan, SHO Police Station, Pantha Chowk, Srinagar through his tout Mushtaq Ahmad was demanding Rs 8.00 lakh as a bribe for issuance of a report in an accident case to the complainant.

"On receipt of the written complaint, to verify the genuineness of the allegations leveled in the complaint a discreet pre-trap verification was conducted by the Bureau which revealed that the complaint was genuine and based on the facts. Accordingly, on the recommendations of the verifying officer, a case FIR No. 13/2024 under section 7 r/w sec 12 of the PC Act 1988 was registered in PS ACB Srinagar and an investigation was taken up", the spokesperson said.

Anti-corruption bureau

What was the case?

The probe revealed that on 25.03.2024 an accident took place at the Khanmoh stone quarry site where an excavator run by one Sameer Ahmad Najar was busy excavating minerals when a boulder came heavily on the Hydraulic Excavator and damaged it beyond repair, and in the incident one labourer namely Mohammad Mushtaq was grievously injured who later on succumbs to the injuries.

To this effect, the Police Post Khanmoh sent a docket to SHO Police Station Pantha Chowk for registration of the FIR.
Accordingly, FIR No. 26/2024 U/S 188 and 304-A IPC was registered and the investigation was taken up by the said SHO himself.
During the course of the investigation, the SHO, who himself was an Investigation Officer (IO) booked the operator of the Hydraulic excavator and his other associate in the case FIR No.26/2024, also got the excavator seized.

Therefore, the actual owner of the excavator approached the Insurance company for the release of insurance in his favour, the Insurance company assigned the job to Alak Consultancy, which debuted a surveyor to spot.

After the survey, the surveyor told the owner of the hydraulic excavator to submit a police report and copy of the FIR for processing his insurance claim concerning the excavator.

The actual owner of the excavator approached SHO PS Pantha Chowk and also the Court to release his Hydraulic Excavator. The Court also sought a report from the SHO PS Pantha Chowk for releasing the excavator on two occasions firstly on 1-04-2024 and later on 22-05-2024 but SHO failed to furnish reports on both occasions despite delay in same.

[Representational image]Creative commons

Through his tout SHO demands Rs eight lakh

The probe revealed that SHO Azim Iqbal was deliberately delaying the matter and finally agreed to provide the requisite reports to the applicant through his tout Mushtaq Abassi only on the payment of a bribe of Rs eight lakh. Under compulsion, the applicant was forced to pay a bribe of Rs 5.50 Lakh to the SHO concerned but still failed to get the reports from them.

ACB, anti corruption bureau

ACB lays a trap, catches SHO red-handed

During the course of the investigation by ACB, a trap team was constituted, and the SHO concerned Inspector Azim Iqbal, and his tout namely Mushtaq Ahmad were apprehended red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe from the complainant inside the premises of the Police Station Pantha Chowk, Srinagar and the bribe amount of Rs 1.5 lakh cash and a cheque of Rs 50,000 were recovered from the official residence of the SHO.

Further during a search of the official room of the SHO, Rs 5.36 lakhs of cash was also recovered and seized on the spot in the presence of independent witnesses. Both the accused were arrested after completing all legal formalities.