The 10 youngsters, from whom the police demanded Rs 50,000, were celebrating a colleague’s birthday; they have complained to the deputy commissioner of police, following which a high-level enquiry has been ordered
When Navi Mumbai youth Amey Mulye tells people that his friends threw him a surprise midnight birthday party with a cake and they stayed out till daybreak, it can be hard to understand why it was the worst birthday of his life. Until he explains how the police crashed the party, abused and hit him and friends, and demanded a whopping Rs 50,000 just because they were cutting a cake in a public place and not at home.
On his 24th birthday on Wednesday, Amey was on the night shift in his Airoli office, so his friends decided to bring in the occasion with a surprise cake at midnight. They called Amey to the open ground outside the office premises, where 13 of them were waiting with a cake. Just as he was cutting the cake, a police patrol car turned up and the group was surrounded by cops. They began to shout at the group and asked what they were doing there so late at night.
After Amey Mulye wrote to him about the incident, DCP Shahaji Umap ordered an ACP to probe the matter, noting that ‘serious allegations’ had been made in the complaint (circled in red).
“I told them we weren’t creating any nuisance; we were just cutting the cake as it was my birthday. Then the inspector — as far as I could see he had three stars — started using abusive language and came towards me to hit me,” recalled Amey.
But the cops turned a deaf ear to Amey’s plea and called for a second patrol van to take all of them to the Rabale MIDC police station. There were three girls in the group and they were asked to wait outside, in the police compound, while the ten boys were shoved into the station house.
“They started abusing us, calling us names and abusing our parents. They started hitting me and two of my friends very badly. They hit us continuously for 15 minutes and then dragged us to another room,” said Amey, adding, “It was demeaning, since we were merely celebrating my birthday and were not involved in any objectionable activities. We were abused and thrashed in public, and my three female friends have been traumatised. All we want to know is — what was our crime?”
Amey said the cops took away their cell phones so that they could not take photos of record a video of what the incident.
The cops told them they would be sent to Vashi Municipal Hospital for a medical test, but no test was conducted. Their fingerprints were taken and they were questioned by the police, added one of Amey’s friends.
The police then demanded the boys to pay a fine of Rs 5,000 each, which would have amounted to a total of Rs 50,000.
“We refused to pay so much and we didn’t even have that much money but the police threatened us saying we would face serious offences. We requested them to take whatever we had with us then, which was around Rs 6,000, but the cops said they would put us behind bars,” said Amey.
The cops finally agreed to accept Rs 2,000 from each of them. The group had about Rs 6,000 in hand, and one of them went to an ATM to withdraw the rest. A constable accompanied him to the ATM.
Although they paid Rs 20,000 in fine, the cops refused to give them a challan. When the group insisted on challans, the policemen handed them receipts of Rs 800 each, under Sections 112 (misbehaviour in public place) and 117 of the Bombay Police Act. The lion’s share — Rs 12,000 — went into the cops’ pockets.
They were finally allowed to go home at 5.30 in the morning, said Amey in a written complaint to DCP (Zone 1) Shahaji Umap, who assured there would be a thorough investigation.
“I have ordered an inquiry and the ACP is looking into the matter,” said the DCP.