His insistence on following the law led to 21-year-old Dharamraj Saroj getting brutally attacked by a biker; while Saroj fled the city fearing for his life, policemen allowed his assaulter, Promod Shere, to go scot-free after fining him a mere Rs 1,200
His insistence on doing his duty and following the law of the land led to a 21-year-old petrol pump attendant getting brutally thrashed and being issued a death threat by a biker.
In the video, Shere is seen slapping Saroj, and then running behind him to rain blows on him, even though Saroj did not retaliate
The policemen meant to enforce the law and protect the defenceless, however, refused to file an FIR and allowed the biker to walk away after fining him a mere Rs 1,200. While the biker got back on the streets with his head held high, the shaken attendant, fled to his hometown in UP, because he feared for his life.
On April 19, Dharamraj Saroj (21), and other attendants were going about their work as usual at the Gill Auto Service petrol pump next to Cotton Green railway station, when a biker, Promod Shere, entered the petrol pump around 8.45 pm. Shere approached Saroj and asked to be given petrol worth Rs 50 in a bottle that he was carrying.
Saroj refused and told him that he couldn’t, as doing so is illegal. The pump’s owner, Theresa Gill, said, “We even have a signboard put up that clearly says that petrol cannot be given loose. But, when Saroj told the biker this, the latter flew into a rage and started beating him up.”
Even though Saroj kept trying to evade Shere’s attacks and begged for mercy, Shere followed him around the petrol pump and kept assaulting him relentlessly
CCTV footage (see pics) shows that the thrashing was a brutal one. Shere held Saroj by the collar, followed him all across the pump and hit and slapped him really hard at least 10 times. Saroj can be seen begging for mercy and even the other staff also tried to stop Shere, but to no avail.
After Shere stopped hitting Saroj, he allegedly threatened to kill the pump attendant if he ever saw him again, before escaping from the spot.
Saroj called Gill and they went to Kalachowkie police station the same night, where the cops refused to file an FIR. They just filed a non-cognisable complaint and Gill then approached her lawyer, Asif Naqvi, who told them to approach the police again and insist on an FIR.
Pump owner Theresa Gill with a copy of the non-cognisable complaint. Her dogged pursuit of justice led to the order for the FIR finally being issued
“When Saroj and Gill went back to the police station on April 20 and asked them to file an FIR, the policemen told them that it was not a major assault case and Saroj had not bled, thus there was no need for an FIR,” said Naqvi.
The shaken Saroj, who had been working at the pump for three years and used to send a major chunk of his earnings to his family in Uttar Pradesh, decided to flee the city and go back to his hometown on April 21, as he was afraid that Shere would act on his death threat. He had to do this even though the job at the pump was his sole source of livelihood.
Gill, however, refused to give up and found out Shere’s address from his motorcycle’s registration number and approached the police again. She even gave them a copy of the CCTV footage, where Shere can clearly be seen hitting Saroj. “In the next two days, I found out the biker’s address and name, after which cops traced the accused, who has been identified as Promod Shere, a resident of Kalachowkie,” said Gill.
On April 23, the policemen called Shere to the police station and he told them that he had gone to the pump to procure petrol in a bottle, so that he could mix it with pesticide to kill bedbugs and other pests in his house. He admitted to assaulting Saroj following an altercation.
Instead of booking him on the charges of assault, however, officials from Kalachowkie police station fined him Rs 1,200 and allowed him to go. “Saroj left the city after the incident. He is too scared to come back, even though it is a question of his livelihood.
He says he fears the biker will come back and assault or even kill him. It was an inhuman act. The Mumbai Police should help common people and act promptly. I found out the biker’s address and gave them everything, but still the cops did not do anything,” said Gill.
Action, at last
Gill and Advocate Naqvi wrote to several senior police officials and one of them finally took cognisance of the case. In the evening yesterday, 11 days after the incident, officials at Kalachowkie police station were asked to register an FIR in the case and arrest the accused.
An inquiry has also been initiated against the cops who did not file the FIR and allowed the biker to go. Senior Police Inspector Shekhar Tawde, of Kalachowkie police station, said, “The victim, Saroj, is in his hometown in UP. Once he comes back to Mumbai, we will record his statement and file an FIR. The officers who failed to register an FIR in the matter will have to face an inquiry.”
Not the first
In June last year, six drunk men on two bikes had gone to the same petrol pump and asked for fuel for their vehicles around 3 am, when the pump had shut for the day. When they were refused, they beat up two attendants and destroyed pump property. Cops had refused to file an FIR even then. Even in that case, an attendant, Satya Mishra, who had suffered an arm fracture, had fled to his hometown and resumed duty only after a month.