Mumbai: mid-day reporter thrashed, threatened; cops don't register FIR

mid-day’s reporter Shirish Vaktania recounts his terrifying ordeal as three goons in a white car (MH-02-CB-6002) thrashed him and threatened to kill him on Saturday; however, this was not enough for police to register a case

It was 11 pm on Saturday night, and I was going home in a car along with a female friend. A white car tried to overtake my vehicle. As there was virtually no space for me to let it overtake my car, I drove at normal speed.

Soon, the vehicle overtook my car and stopped. This happened near D Mart in Mahavir Nagar, Kandivli. Three men, around 30-35 years old, got out of the car, and, before I could even say anything, started hurling filthy abuses at me and my friend. When I asked them to mind their language, they turned violent.

Who’s accountable, Mr CP?
Who’s accountable, Mr CP?

They slapped me while I was sitting in the car. One of them grabbed me by my collar, and dragged me out of my vehicle. My friend’s pleas to stop the beating had no impact.

Death threat
In a fit of rage, one of them said he was leaving to get “saaman” (street lingo for a weapon). That is when some onlookers intervened and I was saved in the nick of time. The trio threatened said they knew how to find me, since they knew my car’s licence plate number, and threatened to kill me.

Police apathy
Since I am in charge of covering crime in the north zone of Mumbai, of which Kandivli is a part, for mid-day, I thought I could get police support. I was wrong. I had been assaulted by three men in the middle of the road; I had been issued death threats. But this was not reason enough for the police to register a case.

Armed with their licence plate number (MH-02-CB-6002), which was in Marathi, I reached the Mahavir Nagar police chowkie in Kandivli. The officer there gave lame excuses. Even before I could finish narrating the incident, he turned me down, stating that the car number of the attackers had been aired on the police wireless network.

He shooed me away to Kandivli police station at around 11.40 pm. In Kandivli police station, the two on-duty officers heard my story. One of them registered a non-cognisable complaint (NC), but refused to lodge a first information report (FIR). A police sub-inspector (PSI) there told me to go to court with the complaint, and that if the court instructed the police to conduct an investigation, they would do so.

PSI Dnyaneshwar Kadam signed on the NC and gave it to me. The next day, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone XI) DCP Balsingh Rajput sent me a text message, “Please meet senior inspector of Kandivli police station Mahipati Pandharmise. I am instructing him to listen to you and take strictest possible action as per law.”

I thanked him for his response and reached the police station in the afternoon. Pandharmise met me and told me that PSI Chaure would help me. Chaure claimed he had called the RTO office for procuring the car’s details, but couldn’t get any since the RTO website was not functioning. They told me they would trace the owner and call me for identification. No statement was taken; no FIR was registered.

Left with no option, I sent Commissioner of Police Rakesh Maria a message. He replied, “Ok. Will get the enquiry started. DCP will personally monitor. Do not worry. We are with you. Regards RM.” Finally, I was called to the police station to record my statement.

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