Alarmed by the increasing number of attacks on traffic police personnel in the city, the Mumbai police have now decided to book such offenders under the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities Act (MPDA).
Kicking off the move, the officials have arrested two persons under the MPDA Act on charges of attempt to murder, for attacking a police constable with a rod after he questioned them for breaking the law at the busy LBS Marg in Bhandup last week.
The incident took place on September 15 and Nishant Anant Manjrekar (22) and Pratik Eknath Uparkar alias Matya (20) assaulted traffic constable Bharat Ghuge.
Investigations revealed that Manjrekar belongs to a local gang headed by Santosh Kanya and has cases of attempt to murder and rioting registered against him earlier.
Confirming the arrest of the duo, Qaiser Khalid, additional commissioner of police (east region) said, “We are implementing MPDA against such offenders.”
Ghuge, who is attached to the Bhandup traffic chowky, was directing traffic at around 7 pm, when he stopped Matya for riding a motorcycle without a helmet. In addition to having no helmet, the accused also had two persons riding pillion with him, including Manjrekar and another unnamed person.
The duo began abusing and threatening Ghuge, but abruptly sped away from the scene when the signal turned green. Enraged by Ghuge’s act of stopping them, they pulled over a little ahead and decided to teach the traffic constable a lesson. However, the third person in the group chose not to go along with the plan and parted ways with the duo. Meanwhile, since Ghuge had left the spot before the duo returned to thrash him, they enquired with the locals and managed to trace him.
They found Ghuge standing alone and though the area was crowded with people, they stopped a few metres away. Manjrekar approached him from behind on foot, hit him with a rod on his head and the duo fled from the spot.
The constable fell to the ground unconscious and was rushed to the nearby Fortis Hospital in Mulund by colleagues, where he is currently recuperating. Following the attack, the police registered a complaint of attempt to murder against unknown persons.
During investigation on Tuesday, Bhandup police arrested Manjrekar and Matya and they confessed their crime. Matya, who was riding the bike at the time of the incident, has no criminal record, while Manjrekar is a criminal on record.
“Two cases of attempt to murder, two cases of rioting and one case of intent to cause hurt with a dangerous weapon have been registered against Manjrekar,” said SV Nadgauda, senior inspector, Bhandup police station. Matya has been booked as an accomplice in the case.
What is MPDA?
Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act of 1981, which allows the police to lock up offenders or potential offenders for as long as three months without bail, and up to a maximum of 12 months.