After a cop faced a thorny situation for offering Raj Thackeray a rose during his Azad Maidan rally in August, another cop has turned to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief to be his saviour.
A harried constable attached to the local arms unit has knocked on the MNS chief’s door, hoping he would take some action against a Shiv Sena leader who has allegedly been sexually harassing his wife, a mother of three children. The constable said he approached Thackeray against Sena’s Shashikant Sawant only after his many complaints and pleas to the men in khaki and those in the saffron party met with a passive silence.
Thackeray, who is currently touring the state, reportedly spoke to the constable and assured him of his help. Amit Nalawade, secretary of the MNS’ legal cell in Mumbai, said, “Sawant has been constantly harassing the constable’s wife. They have been having sleepless nights for the past two years. Both the police force and the Shiv Sena have failed to address his complaints. Finally, he approached Rajsaheb through me and Saheb has agreed to meet him in person to hear his complaint.”
On his wife’s trail
According to the cop’s complaint, a copy of which is with MiD DAY, two years ago, Shiv Sena’s Sion vibhag pramukh, Shashikant Sawant, around 50, asked the complainant’s wife Usha (name changed to protect identity) to visit him in his shakha office for an inquiry.
When she went to his office, Sawant allegedly made verbal advances at her, saying he liked her very much. Usha rejected his proposal and told him she was married to a police constable. But Sawant started hounding her with late-night phone calls and stalking her when she would drop her son to school.
“Sawant threatened me, saying that if I refused his proposal he would get my husband killed in a road accident. He also tried to coax me by saying he would provide me a bungalow, a car and a good bank balance. Three months later, when my husband finally confronted Sawant, he swore that he was not harassing me,” said Usha.
“He would knock on my door late in the night and scoot. Fed up with the harassment, I left my Antop Hill residence and went to live with my parents in Malad. But Sawant began harassing me there as well,” she said. Sawant also tried to kidnap her on two occasions, she alleged.
Until now, the couple has registered five FIRs and four non-cognisable complaints against Sawant in Antop Hill, Mankhurd, Wadala TT, Sion and Matunga police stations. Though Sawant was arrested twice but was released the same day and carried on with his pursuit.
When police issued an externment notice against Sawant, he managed to get it struck down through his pull in the political circle. The constable also said that a senior inspector of Antop Hill slapped him, abused him and pushed him out of the police station when he went to lodge a fresh complaint against Sawant a week ago.
He added that he met Shiv Sena’s top leaders many times hoping they would arbitrate in the matter but all they gave him were assurances. A top Sena leader also threatened the constable against defaming their party’s leader, he alleged.
With all avenues shut to him, the harried cop finally, and hesitantly, approached Thackeray. “I know the police will take departmental action against me for approaching Rajsaheb. But I am helpless. I have to take this man to task,” he said.
“It is a shame on the force that a policeman has to run from pillar to post to get justice. You can imagine the fate of the common man,” said his wife.
Flower power: A rose for Raj
MNS chief Raj Thackeray climbed high on the popularity chart of policemen in the lower rungs, after he spoke out for them at his Azad Maidan rally on August 21, 2012. The rally conducted against the will of the police top brass was held to condemn the assault on Maharashtrian policemen at Azad Maidan by rioters protesting the Assam violence earlier on August 11.
As Thackeray demanded that the home minister and the police commissioner resign out of shame, he earned cheers from the crowd. Soon after, police constable, Pramod Tawade climbed up the podium and gave a yellow rose to him.
Attached to the Byculla Wireless department, he made the gesture as a cop while on duty, dressed in his full khaki garb. Tawade said he was frustrated with the system that had failed to restore justice for him, and said he was grateful and happy that Thackeray had acknowledged the issues his superiors fought shy of. Later, the Mumbai Police issued him a show cause notice for going to the rally without informing his superiors.
The other side
Spokesperson of the Mumbai Police, Ambadas Pote, said, “I will go through our files. Only after going through the details can I say anything.” The accused Sena leader, Sawant, said, “I did not call the woman. It was she who contacted me over a family dispute. All these allegations are false.
I was even put behind bars because of her false complaints. I am sick. Now her husband is blackmailing me. I won’t give him a single paisa. You can inquire about me in my area. If you ask the Antop Hill police, they will tell you how the senior inspector had thrashed the constable once.
He is defaming me, as he wants to oust me from my party post.” Senior Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai said, “It is not possible that the Sena did not take any action. If the constable approaches somebody in the Sena Bhavan, his complaint will be heard.”