Kopri residents spent a sleepless night on Saturday, while cops and fire officials from Mumbai and Thane squabbled over who would take custody of the decomposing body of an electrocuted man that had been discovered in an electricity cabin. Each team tried to wash its hands off the corpse, while helpless locals waited for power supply to be restored to their homes.
The high-octane drama ensued at Mulund Octroi naka, situated at the border shared by Mumbai and Thane.
Octroi agents stationed at the Mulund octroi naka on the Eastern Express Highway were engulfed by a foul smell wafting out of an electric cabin nearby. They informed the Kopri police station immediately.
Employees of MSEB (Maharashtra State Electricity Board) arrived at the spot to discover the body of a 30-year-old man who had been electrocuted in the cabin.
Cops reached the spot and asked the MSEB to disconnect power supply to the cabin, which lights a large part of Thane (East). “The electricity connection of Kopri Gaon and Hari Om Nagar were cut by the MSEB, so that the body could be removed from the cabin,” said Rahul Gunjal, a resident of Kopri Gaon.
Fire brigade officials from Thane and Mumbai also reached the spot. Neither, however, could take any action yet. The Kopri cops decided that the matter did not fall in their jurisdiction -- they wanted to hand over the reins to the Navghar police station in Mumbai. The Mumbai cops were informed.
Officials from the Navghar police reached the spot. They soon reached the conclusion that since the Anand Nagar Chowky used by the Kopri police stood nearby, the jurisdiction was most decidedly that of the Kopri police. The officials continued arguing.
Flustered by the power cut, locals crowded in the area, as the fire brigade officials asked cops who they would hand the body to if they did retrieve it. Pics/Sameer Markande
After hours had been spent squabbling, the Navghar police finally decided to take custody of the body. The Mumbai fire brigade removed the body and MSEB resumed power supply.
As electricity was cut off, it was too hot at home. I got down from my building with my some friends to check out what had happened. On reaching the spot we found that neither of the two teams were willing to accept the body. The argument of the Navghar police was that since Anand Nagar police chowky is located near the cabin and is used by the Kopri police, they should take the body. The Kopri police were saying that it was not their jurisdiction at all.
-- Mayur Patil, a resident of Kopri Gaon
The argument of the Navghar police was that the Anand Nagar police chowky which we use is near the MSEB cabin, were the body was found. But our chowky itself is in their jurisdiction and we have been using it since last 20 years. The Navghar police later told us that we should hand over their chowky to them.
-- A police officer from Kopri police station
We have carried out a panchnama of the body and taken it in our custody. We have learnt from residents nearby that the body belongs to a mentally unstable man who used to roam in the area. We suspect he might have gone to the cabin to answer nature’s call and been electrocuted. We are yet to establish his identity and will soon pass the photos of the victim to all police stations for identification.
-- Asaram Sawant, assistant police inspector of Navghar police station