Barely two days after mid-day reported on the constable from the Thane police who has three flats, a seemingly endless list of vehicles and truckloads of cash, one of his counterparts from the Mumbai police has sullied the force’s name again.
In a bid to extort money, Constable Sashi Yadav from the Pydhonie police station stole his own car from a garage and threatened to implicate the garage’s owner in the theft case unless he was paid Rs 7 lakh.
Sashi Yadav had given his Swift Dzire for repair to Vijaykumar Huvinbai (left), who has been a mechanic for the past 15 years. Pic/Shadab Khan
What’s worse, officials at the Shivaji Park police station allegedly refused to file a case against Yadav and let him off after making him apologise to the victim despite the latter having CCTV footage of Yadav stealing the car.
Towards the end of December, Yadav gave his Swift Dzire car for repair to one of his acquaintances, Vijaykumar Huvinbai (34), who has been a mechanic for the past 15 years and operates a small garage at Cadell Road, Dadar.
In the CCTV footage, Constable Yadav can be seen struggling with the car’s boot, which had been rigged to open whenever the door was opened. The garage owner, Vijaykumar Huvinbai (right), had done this to prevent the car from being stolen
The car was repaired on January 18 and Huvinbai called constable Yadav the same day and asked him to take it back. “He told me that he was very busy in a bandobast and would take the car later,” Huvinbai told mid-day.
On January 25, the constable kept calling Huvinbai continuously, but the latter did not answer his phone because it was a Sunday and he was resting. “When I called him back, I was shocked to hear him say that the car was not at the garage and had been stolen.
He began alleging that I had hatched a plot and stolen the car. He also threatened me and said that, as a cop, he knew how to take proper action against me and said he would do so unless I gave him R7 lakh for the car.” Huvinbai said the theft surprised him even more because he uses a special technique to guard against car thieves.
He said he does this because he has no space for cars to be parked in his garage and he has to park them on the road next to it. “I lock the cars using a special technique. I tie one end of a thin string, which is hard to detect, to the lock of the car boot and the other to the car’s door. Hence, if any thief opens the door, the car’s boot will also open.”
Nevertheless, Huvinbai went to meet Yadav in South Mumbai the next day at his insistence. “When I met him, Yadav threatened me again and asked me to pay what the car had cost him — R7 lakh. He began mentally harassing me.”
On Tuesday, January 27, Huvinbai recovered CCTV footage from the Meera Marg Co-operative society at Veer Savarkar marg, which had a camera pointing towards the place where the car was parked. “I was shocked to see constable Yadav driving away in his car.
The car’s boot opened thrice and he eventually gave up and drove away with the boot open. In the footage, he can clearly be seen calling someone (presumably me) from the spot and then driving the car away,” said Huvinbai. “I did not tell Yadav about the footage initially and he kept on harassing me and threatening to falsely implicate me.
I asked him to come to the police station with me and file a complaint about the theft, but he never came. He even called me to his Worli residence on Tuesday, where he threatened me again and asked for money. I should have been the one asking him for money because my documents and tool box were in the car.”
Fed up, Huvinbai approached the Shivaji Park police station on Wednesday to file a complaint with the footage as evidence, but got no response. After repeated requests from Huvinbai, officials at the police station finally called constable Yadav and him to the police station on Saturday.
Huvinbai alleged that he and Yadav were just made to sit at the police station till late in the evening. The police recorded Huvinbai’s statement and asked him to go home saying it was late. “I want tough action to be taken against Constable Yadav.
He threatened to implicate me in the car theft case and tried to extort money from me. I got saved only because I had the CCTV footage, or the cops could have registered a false case against me. Is this how the Mumbai police works?” asked a visibly exasperated Huvinbai.
Senior police inspector P Kakad of Shivaji Park police station said, “I was unaware of the matter. I checked with the inspector (crime) and he said that there was a misunderstanding in the case.
Constable Yadav had given the car for repairs a month back and Huvinbai had not repaired it. The car had been lying in the garage for a long time and, hence, Yadav himself took the car and went away.” “Both the men were called to the police station yesterday. Yadav was summoned and he apologised to Huvinbai and was let off,” he added.
Officials at the police station, however, confirmed that the car is with Yadav and that he had confessed to taking it away without informing Huvinbai. Repeated attempts were made, but Yadav disconnected his phone when this reporter tried to contact him for his version.