For the past 15 years, a Central Railway (CR) motorman has been running from pillar to post, in search of justice. 42-year-old Mukesh Bhasney claims that he was accused of a crime that he didn’t commit, scapegoated by authorities, and even ousted from service as a motorman, without so much as an enquiry to investigate if he was really culpable. Bhasney joined the railways in 1988, and became a motorman in 1998. On October 2 that year he drove the local CST to Karjat and at 7.08 pm, things went downhill in the return trip. “The moment I left from Karjat station, I saw some lit torches, and labourers working on the track. Luckily, safety counsellor G M Singh was sitting next to me, and taking his permission, I applied the emergency brake to save the labourers working on the tracks,” said Bhasney.
Emergency maintenance work was being carried out on the tracks, and no intimation of the same had been given to the motormen, as is protocol. “Unfortunately, when I applied the emergency brake, two wheels from the front got derailed. No casualties were reported.” The next day, Bhasney was suspended for 15 days. “After that, I was put back on office duty. On August 30, 1999, I was removed from service, even though no departmental enquiry had been conducted. Since then, I have been demanding for an enquiry, but have not received any response from the railways,” added Bhasney. He alleges that the officials who visited the spot following the incident have manipulated facts and altered the truth to save the staffers who had allowed maintenance work without informing motormen. Less than a week ago, Bhasney wrote to GP Khare, the general manager of CR , asking him to reopen the matter and ensure than an enquiry is conducted. He is yet to receive a response.
“They have only punished me, saving the culprits responsible for the incident,” added Bhasney. Over the years, he has written letters to different authorities, including the Prime Minister, Sonia Gandhi, the general manager of the railway board, as well as the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, seeking justice. Four years ago, Bhasney was asked to leave his railway quarters or join as a trainee electrician. “I decided to take up the electrician’s job to save the house. I have small kids and a family, where would I go?
I have been getting one fourth of the salary that I used to draw as a motorman,” said Bhasney. In his desperation to exonerate himself, Bhasney also filed many RTI queries, trying to get his hands on records of the incident, but received a response that the CR authorities didn’t have the documents with them.“I just want to raise one question: when they don’t have the documents regarding the incident, how could they remove me from service without conducting any enquiry?” asked Bhasney. “I want to regain my respect and prove that I am not guilty and that I have been meted unfair punishment to save others. I am mentally, physically, financially drained. Who will pay for my losses and who will return my 15 years to me?” he asked.
All in vain
In 2006, Bhasney threatened the railway authorities that he would set himself on fire on Republic Day if he wasn't given justice. He was arrested and kept in a lock-up till the evening of January 26.
The Other Side
MiD DAY contacted the CR spokesperson, who said that an enquiry is being conducted. “It is an internal and administrative matter which will be dealt with in accordance with procedures laid down,” said the spokesperson.