Wounded, suspended and hospitalised, but not yet defeated. Traffic Assistant Police Inspector Sachin Suryavanshi seems ready for battle against the MLAs who beat him up in Vidhan Bhavan. With Home Minister RR Patil claiming that the CCTV footage retrieved from Vidhan Bhavan is inconclusive, API Suryavanshi, who was assaulted by some legislators inside the state assembly premises, has agreed to come forward and identify the MLAs.
“I can identify each one of them if they are brought before me,” said Suryavanshi who is undergoing treatment in a hospital in his village Bambawde in Sangli. On March 18, Suryavanshi, at present under suspension, had stopped Bahujan Vikas Aghadi MLA Kshitij Thakur’s car for speeding on the Bandra Worli Sea Link and fined him Rs 700. After a privilege motion moved by Thakur, Suryavanshi was summoned to the state assembly the next day where he was attacked by a bunch legislators from various political parties.
In his statement recorded by the Marine Drive police earlier this month, Suryavanshi had said, “I reached Vidhan Bhavan around 11.30 am on the day of the incident (March 19, 2013). I had a discussion with deputy speaker Vasant Davkhare and MLA Kshitij Thakur. Around 12 30 pm, as I was coming out of the office with senior inspector Bhimrao Kore of Worli traffic division, I heard someone saying ‘Pakda pakda.
Hach to Suryavanshi (‘Get hold of him. He is Suryavanshi)’. When I turned, I saw Thakur pointing a finger towards me, following which MLA Ram Kadam of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) came to me and said ‘Tu Aamdaranna nadtos ka? Tula aaj khallas karto (You take on fights with MLAs? I will kill you today)’. Before I could respond, Kadam punched me on my cheeks and the others followed him thereafter.”
Nearly three weeks after the incident, investigations in the case have been stonewalled, as the Crime Branch is still struggling to get CCTV footage of the episode and find witnesses in the case. Meanwhile, the home minister’s statement that the footage is inconclusive made it clear that there is no evidence to further the case. Suryavanshi has now agreed to identify the MLAs if the Crime Branch asks him to.
‘If I had a gun...’
The traffic API still regrets not possessing a gun on the day he was beaten. “If I had been carrying a gun in my hand that day, no one would have dared touch me. Since traffic cops are not equipped with firearms, I was helpless. The entire mob cornered me and then kicked and punched me,” he said. A few months ago, with a spate of attacks on traffic cops on the street, Mumbai police commissioner had decided to equip them with batons and pistols. But there has been no movement on the orders.
Several relatives, friends and colleagues have been paying him visits to inquire after his health and extend support to him. “Not only the department but everybody else has supported me. I will wait for justice to be delivered.” He added, “I am now feeling better. But people are still coming in to visit me every day.” The cop’s brother said, “There is some pain in his body. He had met the doctor today to allow him to visit Mumbai so that he can appear before the committee appointed to investigate his case.”