33 armymen booked for Tuesday's clash

Feb 02, 2012, 06:52 IST | A Correspondent
Court of inquiry initiated after altercation with cops; accused prohibited from leaving CME campus as army promises action against officers if found guilty

A day after an altercation took place between the police and the army officials at Alka Talkies chowk, the Vishrambaug police booked Captain B Advait, Lieutenant A B Pandit and Arjun Sood along with 30 other army officers for assaulting and preventing public servants from performing their duty. 

Police at police's gate: A video grab of the military police at the 
Vishrambaug police station yesterday. The military police came to note 
down statements of the constables involved in Tuesday's incident 

The police will soon record statements of the accused, who have been confined to the College of Military Engineering (CME) campus in Bopodi. Police Inspector (Crime) R Sawant said that the officers from the military police yesterday visited the police station and recorded statements of the police constables involved in Tuesday's incident.

"The only thing that remains is recording the armymen's statement, which will either take place here, or on the campus. We are yet to fix a suitable time for that," he said.

Army's statement
An official statement from the defence public relations officer said their officers were enraged because of an arrogant approach by the traffic police officers in the first place. "The lady constable took the keys, while a male constable started abusing Captain Advait, and manhandled him. This entire episode happened between 7.30 pm and 8 pm," the statement said. 

The statement also says that the Sambhaji Bridge or Lakdi Pul, which is off-limits for two-wheelers till 9 pm, lacked prominent signposting. Commenting on the alleged manhandling of journalists covering the incident, the statement read that the photographers were obstructing movement of the army officers present at the spot. 
"The media was trying to get info and click photos, which the officers objected to. They started heckling and obstructing them while the police and CMP were trying to disperse the officers," it read.

The army has ordered a court of inquiry into the matter and the officers concerned have been debarred from leaving the CME premises. The HQ CME is in liaison with the local police authorities.
'Serious view taken'
A statement from the Southern Command has also promised a thorough inquiry in the matter. "The GOC-in-C Southern Command, has taken serious view of the incident, stating that indiscipline will not be tolerated and action will be taken against those found guilty," the statement said.

A senior CME officer said that Colonel Damle from the Mechanical and Electrical Engineering faculty had been appointed as the presiding officer for the court of inquiry."We are carrying out further investigations and are also trying to get the case transferred to the army," he said.

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