Panvel resident Rajendra Pratap Gupta has to travel often across the city for attending business meetings. During one such trip last October, his car was stopped by traffic police opposite Laxmi Industrial Estate in DN Nagar, Andheri. Gupta and his driver Shantaram identified the constable as Shanmukhanand Gosavi, who collected Rs 100 as fine for the vehicle jumping the signal, but didn’t provide a receipt, which every citizen is entitled to.
Speaking to MiD DAY, Gupta said, “At the time we crossed the signal the lights had turned orange, so this is not precisely a crime. Shantaram was driving the car at the time, when we were stopped and asked to pay Rs 100 as penalty. I didn’t argue and gave Gosavi the money. Following this, he took off.”
Gupta says he called out to the constable, but he replied to him saying that he was only going to get the receipt.
“But he never came back. I searched around a bit, but couldn’t locate him anywhere near the junction,” Gupta added.
Following the episode, Gupta filed an application under Right to Information (RTI) Act, asking why he wasn’t given a receipt for the Rs 100 he had paid. “Instead of replying to me in writing, the staff from DN Nagar traffic police started calling me frantically, asking me to meet them over lunch and sort out the matter.”
Gupta says he declined the offer, as he felt that the constable’s conduct was akin to extortion. “I received a letter from ACP Govindrao Giri on June 21, from which any layman would conclude that he was trying to save the accused and turning a blind eye towards departmental corruption by not providing me the details I had sought. He said that inspector Ravindra Patil had conducted an inquiry and no evidence was found against the constable. Gosavi called me later and claimed that he had got a phone call from his senior, for which he had to rush to office after collecting the fine.”
This incident had taken place on October 12 last year. Gupta added, “It’s likely that this cop is taking money from a lot of people on a daily basis and not issuing receipts. Gosavi called me at 1.30 pm on March 28 and requested me not to pursue the matter.”
He maintained that action should also be taken against Giri for encouraging such extortion by junior cops.
When MiD DAY probed constable Shanmukhanand Gosavi, now posted at Gamdevi, about the episode, he said, “What evidence does he have in his possession to prove that I have taken Rs 100 from him?”
He added that drivers of many cars stopped by traffic cops merely place Rs 100 into the hands of the personnel, in the form of penalty, when asked to show their licences.
On being asked why did he and his senior call up Gupta to settle the matter if they were innocent, he said, “Inspector Ravindra Patil knew that I wouldn’t do anything wrong, as in my 10-year-long career not a single complaint has come up against me. That’s why we called him.”
Get the message?
Some of the SMSes sent by Ravindra Patil to Gupta:
>> “Sir , can i call u pls…. inspector Ravi Patil .. Traffic police DN Nagar.” 12.13 pm on March 15, 2013
>> “Sir , can i call u pls…. inspector Ravi Patil .. Traffic police DN Nagar.” 7.44 pm on March 18, 2013
>> “Sir , no problem…whenever u get time we will meet… there r some problems which i ve to discuss with you… and the people like u r d gem of society..gd nt sir.” 7.36 pm on March 19, 2013.