But Sharma's arrest is not the end of the nightmare. Subhash Malhotra, who once headed the state police, has also been interrogated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT), which is trying to unravel the scam. With more than a dozen of Maharashtra's top police officers now behind bars, including several from its elite crime branch—which, ironically, is supposed to crack down on organised crime—the credibility of the police is in tatters. Says O.P. Bali, former state DGP: "It is really sad because people always had respect for senior officials. We used to get complaints about the functioning of local police stations but this is the first time that such senior officials have got embroiled in this kind of controversy." Adds deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal, "Yes, definitely credibility has been affected. Obviously there were some lapses."
Sharma is not the only protagonist in this sordid drama. Horror stories about senior police officers are tumbling out faster than anyone can keep count. Here are a few of them: