A discreet ACB inquiry against decorated police inspector Hemant Bawdhankar and his wife regarding acquisition of a sprawling 1,425 sq ft flat in upmarket Gamdevi area has revealed that the flat, the ready reckoner value of which is Rs 2.88 crore, had been bought by the Bawdhankar family for just Rs 25 lakh. The owners of the property alleged that as Bawdhankar was a policeman he would have 'bought' the property at such a low price in order to escape ACB clutches.
According to Atul Korgaonkar, one of the landlords of Saraswati Niwas flat now occupied by the Bawdhankars, said: "Last August, we learnt that our ancestral 1,425 sq ft flat, which had been rented out to Mulraj Kapadia many years ago, had been occupied by the Bawdhankar family. From then on Kapadia was nowhere to be seen. We were told by the family that Kapadia had sold the flat to Anjali Bawdhankar. The occupants have not allowed us even to enter the property. We have moved the court against Kapadia and Bawdhankar as they had made the deal without our consent."
"Despite their meagre income, they acquired a flat worth Rs 2.88 crore from Kapadia, who stayed in the ground floor as a tenant. We therefore lodged a complaint with the ACB against Bawdhankar asking them to investigate how they could have acquired a property the cost of which was disproportionate to their known sources of income," said Korgaonkar.
"A discreet inquiry revealed that the flat had been bought for Rs 25 lakh. We checked the bank statements of Bawdhankar and his wife, and it appears the transaction money was given through known source of income. Hence no case can be made on disproportionate assets against Bawdhankar," said Vishwas Nangre-Patil, ACB additional commissioner of police.
"Firstly, can anyone buy a property for less than its ready-reckoner value? It's shocking why the ACB did not find it suspicious that a plum south Mumbai property worth crores was sold and bought for just Rs 25 lakh. We will certainly take up the issue in the court as there is a possibility that either black money or hawala channel was used to make the payment and the property was undervalued by the buyers in order to dodge the ACB radar," said Abha Singh, advocate for Reena Mhatre, one of the landlords of the property.
Bawdhankar was instrumental in gunning down Pakistani terrorist Mohammad Ismail, one of the main gunmen in the 26/11 case in 2008 and was awarded for his bravery.