Avinash Deshmukh, a resident of Tanmaypuri apartment in Dahanukar colony woke up on Monday morning only to realize that his motorcycle was missing from the parking area in the basement.
He immediately filed a complaint with the jurisdictional police and recovered his bike shortly after. Later in the day however, Deshmukh viewed the CCTV footage of a camera covering the premises from where his motorcycle (MH 37 B 6644) had gone missing, and was met with a huge shock.
Four policemen were seen, along with an unknown handcuffed person, wheeling his bike out of its respective parking in the wee hours of Monday.
On Monday morning Deshmukh approached the Alankar police chowky to lodge a complaint, but alleges that he was asked to pay Rs 300 to file a simple FIR.
He claims that the police also demanded Rs 2,000 to perform panchanama. Finally in the evening, his father received a call from the Warje-Malwadi police stating that his son’s bike had been located.
Deshmukh said that on Sunday night at 11.30 he returned home and parked his bike. In the morning when he went down the bike was missing.
“I immediately told my younger brother and our neighbor, Dattatray Gokhale about the incident and we rushed to the Alankar police chowky and filed an FIR. However, the police personnel, who had taken down my complaint took Rs 300 from me to register the complaint and also said that I have to give Rs 2,000 while performing ‘panchanama’.
As I was tense, I gave Rs 300 and lodged the complaint,” Deshmukh said. Deshmukh, who hails from Vashim in Vidarbha further said that his father, who lives in Vashim, received the call from the Warje-Malwadi police station in the evening informing that the bike had been located.
“My father called me up and asked me to approach the police station, which I did. The police officials told me that they had found my bike and arrested the vehicle lifter.
When I came home, we viewed the footage and received a shock. At 4.54 am on Monday, four cops along with a handcuffed man were taking away my bike,” he said.
The footage shows a police van stopping at the gate of our apartment at 4.54 am and four cops, three in uniform and one in plainclothes along with a handcuffed man emerging from the vehicle.
The handcuffed man points out the bike and then one of the cops along with the suspect put a key into the bike lock, but fail to start it.
They then speak to each other and later take away the bike from the apartment premises and the van and bike disappear from view.
Deputy Commissioner of police (Zone I) Dnyaneshwar Phadtare however vindicated the act by the police personnel and said that a police team of Warje-Malwadi arrested one Vitthal Rathod for allegedly stealing bikes at old octrio post in Warje and found Deshmukh’s bike’s documents in his possession. When interrogated, the thief told them that he had stolen the documents from the bike’s dickey while it was parked in Tanmaypuri apartment.
The team took the accused to the apartment where he showed them the bike. The cops thought that the accused might have stolen the bike from somewhere else and hidden it in the basement, as the gate was open and there was no security guard employed. They then took the bike along to ensure its safety.
“We should appreciate the efforts done by them as they were trying to do their job,” Phadatare said. Deshmukh’s lawyer, Mihir Prabhudesai, claims that the police were not following proper procedure.
Prabhudesai said that if the police team’s intention was good, they could have followed correct procedure by bringing a witness along with them or they could have contacted the residents of the apartment. Instead, they lifted the bike in such a manner that there is scope for suspicion over the act.
“We have met ACP (crime) Anant Shinde and given our application for inquiry into the matter as the whole incident looked to fishy.
We also urge them to inquire about police personnel from Alankar police chowk, who had taken Rs 300 to file an FIR and also for demanding Rs 2,000 to perform panchnama of the theft case,” said Prabhudesai.
Phadatare said that the money demand incident at Alankar police chowky is serious and ordered a full inquiry in this regard, stating that those behind the act will be punished.
Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar has also backed the policemen. She said, “I do not think there were any malafide intentions when they took the bike, as the accused they had arrested for stealing two wheelers, is on police record and is involved in several cases of vehicle theft, chain snatching and house robberies. I have personally checked his records.”
She further said, “We are investigating whether any witness was there when the cops were lifting the bike from the apartment premises.”
She also said that the complainant and his lawyer had met her and submitted the application about the incident. However, they have not mentioned that the complainant was asked for money at Alankar police chowky when he had gone there to lodge a complaint.
Police took Rs 300 from me to file the complaint and said I had to give Rs 2,000 for panchnama - Avinash Deshmukh
I don’t think there were any malafide intentions when they (the police) took the bike - Meeran Borwankar, Police Commissioner