While the common man may have to wait for weeks and even months together to get their stolen vehicle back from the police who insist that all court formalities must be completed before handing it over, the police force has shown how political affiliations can work wonders for the privileged few.
N M Joshi Marg police officials handed over the stolen Pajero to Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s son-in-law Raj Shroff within just three days of recovering it. Treating the theft as a special case, police handed over the stolen SUV after an assistant commissioner of police granted permission yesterday.
“In most cases of the stolen vehicles recovered by police, the victims are asked to take possession of their vehicle from the courts. In this case, the ACP who has the powers to return vehicles in special cases has handed over the vehicle to Shroff. Most of the victims have to make rounds of the courts to get custody of their stolen vehicle,” said a senior police officer, on condition of anonymity.
“We have handed over the vehicle to Raj Shroff,” confirmed Deepak Kathkade, assistant commissioner of police, NM Joshi Marg police station. Even the Skoda car that was hijacked by Ajmal Qasab on November 26, 2008, was handed over to owner Ramesh Arasa five months later in February 2009 after securing permission from the Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court.
Lawyer M A Farooqui said, “As per section 102 of CrPC, a police officer has been empowered to handover seized property to any person on execution of a bond of undertaking, but nobody takes the risk and they ask the victim to take the custody from the court.”
Raj Shroff’s vehicle was stolen from Bawala Masjid, N M Joshi Marg, on Thursday night and his sister-in-law spotted the stolen vehicle at Lilavati hospital, Bandra, on Saturday night. She then informed the police who swung into action and traced the SUV a few hours later abandoned at Lal Matti slum in Bandra (W). The accused are yet to be identified and traced.