Controversies continue to plague Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Vasant Dhoble. After recent reports of a probe being ordered against him for taking illegitimate action against hoteliers in his jurisdiction, the Vakola ACP is now in hot water over the death of a 40-year-old hawker during one of his innumerable raids at Santacruz (East) yesterday.
Madan Jaiswal, an illegal hawker, suffered a heart attack in the mad rush to escape the wrath of Mumbai’s ‘moral cop’, who inspires terror and alarm among small-scale entrepreneurs and hoteliers each time he embarks on one of his frequent raids in his jurisdiction, wielding a lathi or a hockey stick to assert his authority. He is known to have thrashed workers at eateries and illegal hawkers in the past.
After Jaiswal was declared dead at VN Desai Hospital, politicians and fellow hawkers flocked outside the hospital premises and Vakola police station to agitate, demanding an FIR against Dhoble and refusing to claim the body if their demands weren’t met.
The police are now taking statements of persons involved in the case and will thereafter determine the future course of action.
Several noted politicians have taken up cudgels against the city’s self-righteous cop after the incident. Congress MP Priya Dutt, who reached the hospital, said she wouldn’t budge until an FIR was registered against Dhoble. MLA Kripashankar Singh reached the spot and raised a similar voice against Dhoble.
Police officials revealed that Dhoble had patrolled the area near Santacruz railway station around 5 pm yesterday, where most illegal hawkers in the area operate. Almost all the hawkers fled helter skelter, only to return when they felt that the coast was clear, to set up their stalls again.
Half an hour later, however, the crafty cop returned to the spot with a BMC vehicle. Sighting Dhoble’s return, all the hawkers started fleeing. Jaiswal had just set up his fruit stall. Alarmed by Dhoble’s return, Jaiswal couldn’t make up his mind on whether to save his goods or flee the spot. In the ensuing chaos, he suffered a heart attack and collapsed.
Hawkers rushed Jaiswal to VN Desai Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.
Some of the hawkers alleged that Dhoble had beaten up Jaiswal while he was clearing them out, because of which he died.
At the time of going to press, senior police officer including the additional commissioner visited the place and asked for peace and calm. Policemen were seen taking statements from eyewitnesses.