The Khadki police have registered a case against two serving army men who allegedly stole two walkie-talkies belonging to the police during a fracas at a New Year’s Eve party. Police have identified the two Army Naiks, but have refrained from arresting the duo, as they are hoping that good sense would prevail and the accused would return the walkie-talkie set back to them.
The incident took place when two policemen from Khadki police station, who were patrolling at Range Hill, saw some youths dancing at a party with loud music at an open space near the defence quarters. When the constables approached the revellers, and informed them that they were violating a Supreme Court order by playing loud music beyond 12 pm, two army men confronted them and told them to leave the defence area.
When the policemen insisted that they should stop the music, according to the police, two men started attacking the constables and, in the melee, the portable two-way radios that were hanging on the constables’ right shoulder slipped and fell down. Police say that the two accused flicked the fallen walkie-talkies in the commotion.
“We were patrolling the Range Hill area on the night of December 31, and had clear instructions from senior officers that no one should be allowed to play loud music after 12 pm,” said Gorakh Patil, the police constable who joined the police force after serving the Army for 23 years.
“We entered the venue, and asked for the music to be stopped. But, two drunken army men started verbally abusing us,” said Patil. He further said, “One of the person arrogantly told us, ‘Puri raat speaker band nahi hoga, policewale andar nahi ane ka, idarse get out.’ (Speakers would not be switched off the entire night, policemen are not allowed inside the gate, so get out from here).
We then asked them whether they had the required permit to play music on loudspeakers. But, they continued using profane language, and stared manhandling us. During the altercation, my walkie-talkie that was hanging on my right shoulder fell down.”
Patil said that by the time he had realised the walkie-talkie was missing, it had disappeared and suspects that the two defence personnel might have picked up the instrument and handed it over to some one in the crowd, which had gathered to see the altercation.
“I told them that if they returned the wireless set, we wouldn’t stretch the matter further. But, they continued insulting and abusing us,” Patil said.
He further said that they searched for the wireless set for more than three hours, but could not find it. “We are sure that one of two army personnel must have taken the set when they were manhandling us,” said Patil.
According to sources, police have identified the two men as Army Naik Dhakad and Army Naik Sabale (first name not known), who are residents at the same defence colony where the party was held.
Police inspector (Crime) Nishikant Bhujbal of Khadki police station said that after the incident, they contacted Naik Subhedar R K Singh, and he interrogated the two accused the next day. But, they did not own up to their offence.
“As they were undeterred and not returning the set, we then lodged a complaint against the two personnel under section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), and 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees) of the Indian Penal Code,” said Bhujbal.
He also said that they have not yet arrested any of them, as they still feel that the accused would return the wireless set, and the matter would be resolved amicably.
The other side
Defence PRO, Sanjay Arvikar, said that he has no idea about the matter. “This is the first time, I have come to know about this issue, and I am not in a position to say anything about the incident,” said Arvikar, asking to contact him tomorrow.