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Freak shot by cop raises safety concerns

Constable injured in bullet fired by colleague; insiders say inadequate training to blame for poor handling of weapons

Blame it on the casual attitude of the police while handling weapons, the inadequate training in the force or the poor maintenance of arms.

Either way, a freak accident at the traffic department in the Office of Commissioner of Police yesterday could have cost a constable his life.


Jumped the gun: DCP Raghunath Khaire, Zone II, takes a look at the
CPU of the computer where the bullet that was accidentally shot by
Constable Amol Sarde (inset) got lodged. Pic/Krunal Gosavi


Constable Vijay Bhusari was saved by a whisker when a bullet accidentally fired by his colleague brushed past his chest and injured him below the collarbone, before hitting the computer on the desk.

Bhusari, who sustained minor injuries, was later admitted to Jehangir Hospital. A case has been registered against Constable Amol Sarde for negligence on duty and inquiry is on, said Senior Police Inspector Ukhaji Sonawane.

According to Bhusari's statement to the police, the incident took place when Constable Sarde was casually showing him the weapon. Bhusari and Sarde were having lunch together at 1.45 pm at a traffic office, and Sarde was showing the weapon to Bhusari.

DCP Vishwas Pandhare said the bullet got fired when Sarde was adjusting his uniform shirt, and the bullet discharged accidentally from his pistol hit Bhusari.  Bhusari then informed his seniors and was immediately shifted to Jehangir hospital. Pandhare said Sarde was a wireless operator, as the constable who regularly handles the job was on leave.

No training?
Sources in the police said the causal approach of the constable was enough proof that training in handling of weapons was inadequate in the force. They said the force rarely organised practice sessions for the policemen. "Such accidents take place in the absence of proper training. They often forget to unload the pistol causing accidents," said a senior officer. Sources said training was organised for all officers and armed constables once a year at a firing range in Wadachi Wadi. Each person is asked to fire forty rounds and briefed on weapon handling, said sources.

Old weapons
An official said outdated weapons were also responsible for such mishaps A senior officer said it was expected of policemen that they maintain their weapons and keep them cleaned and well-oiled. A Y Kulkarni, a weapon expert who has conducted training for weapon users, said: "You can't just blame it on the poor maintenance of weapons.

It is also the mistake of the handler. Before showing the weapon, he should have withdrawn the magazine, so that there would not have been cartridges in the weapon. He must have pulled the slide, loading the first cartridge into the chamber from the magazine. He should have not kept his finger on the trigger."

Creditable past
Constable Amol Sarde who was earlier attached to Chatuhshrungi police station has cracked at least 40 cases of vehicle theft. Sarde has received accolades for his skill to pinpoint suspected number plates.

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