While motorists talking on their phones as they drive on the city’s hazardous roads rarely draw a second glance from most cops, a 38-year-old insurance agent from Ghatkopar was allegedly assaulted by a constable and dragged to the police station for stopping to take a phone call from his wife — while using a skywalk.
“Yes, that was my only fault, and for this, the head constable attached to the Ghatkopar police station, who was later identified as Baburao Gargoti, pushed me into the police vehicle and slapped me repeatedly till we reached the station,” said the insurance agent, who refused to identify himself, fearing the consequences.
The victim was on his way to office at Dadar after parking his bike at Ghatkopar station, when the unexpected event took place.
“I came from Chandivli, parked my bike at Ghatkopar station and took the skywalk. I stopped at a point on the skywalk to receive a phone call from my wife,” said the victim.
“While I was talking on phone, someone tapped me on the shoulder from behind. It was a constable. He asked me what was I doing and said I should leave the place immediately. I told him that I was simply talking on the phone and not doing anything illegal. He lost his temper and slapped me, saying, ‘So now you will teach me the law?’ I asked him what I had done wrong and he slapped me again,” he said.
After slapping him repeatedly, Gargoti allegedly pushed him inside the mobile van and dragged him to the police station. It was only after a relative intervened and put pressure on the cops that they registered a non-cognisable offence against Gargoti under Section 323 of the IPC for voluntarily causing hurt, and Section 504 for inflicting intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace. A departmental inquiry has also been initiated against Gargoti.
“Our constable was wrong. I have inquired with people who were with him. He beat up the victim for no reason. He should have seen that the victim was from a decent family and had no illegal intent when he stood on the skywalk and answered his phone,” said Ram Mandurke, senior inspector of Ghatkopar police station.
The police have now initiated a high-level enquiry into the matter, and DCP Mahesh Ghure has also asked for a default report on the case. Confirming the same, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Sadanand Date said, “The way our constable has behaved is unacceptable. We have already initiated a departmental inquiry against him.”
“It’s unpardonable for the police to behave like this. I know druggists and lovebirds stand on skywalks and loiter there for hours, but you should be able to identify them and not behave rudely with every person who uses the skywalk. The policemen are supposed to offer us protection. How can they beat people like us without making any inquiries first? Is this some kind of gundaraj?” the victim fumed.
A police officer from Ghatkopar said on condition of anonymity, “Everyday there are several complaints against Gargoti — he beats up people, troubles seniors. This is the first time the matter is being addressed and we hope serious action is taken against him.”