Sushant Shetty, who was on his way to a hospital with his wife, had to brake suddenly because a scooter rider was coming down the wrong way; he gestured to the rider, who then called two other men and punched Shetty and threatened his eight-month pregnant wife
Mumbai prides itself on being a relatively safe city, but what a senior MNC executive had to go through on Thursday evening has shaken even the true-blue Mumbaikar’s faith in that notion.
Sushant Shetty says the audacity of a man, who not only rained punches on him in a bizarre case of road rage, but endangered the safety of his eight-and-a-half month pregnant wife and unborn child, has left him shocked.
To make matters worse, the Powai police refused to register an FIR against the attacker and his accomplices, and did so only yesterday three days after the incident after Commissioner Rakesh Maria intervened. The proverbial icing on this disastrous cake?
The Scooty driver was in the wrong in the incident that made him angry, and no one came forward to help the man and his pregnant wife for nearly 15 minutes, even though the incident took place around 6.30 pm in a busy area.
Sushant was taking his wife for a check-up to Hiranandani Hospital in Powai in their car when he saw the Scooty driver coming in the wrong direction, forcing him to brake hard. Sushant gestured to the driver, asking him what he was up to, but little did he know that it would trigger a murderous rage in him.
“The incident happened when we were at Military Road, Marol. A Scooty came from the wrong way and I had to brake hard. I gestured to the driver, and he began riding alongside our car. He called somebody up and began giving the details of our car,” said Sushant. Since the couple were getting late, they did not pay much heed.
“Within a few minutes, however, a bike with two people arrived at the scene and gave chase to our car. They began kicking the car and asking us to stop and I lowered the window. I told them that my wife was in the late stages of her pregnancy and we were getting late for the hospital, but they kept kicking and abusing and asking me to stop,” said Sushant.
“The three men then started punching me through the lowered window. One of them tried to open the car door, but it was locked from inside. The first punch landed on my nose and I began bleeding. They then went for my car keys and, when I resisted, they kept punching me,” he said.
His frightened wife began crying and shouting for help, prompting the men to abuse and threaten to punch her too. “Finally, a couple of passers-by and an auto driver came to our rescue and helped us escape,” added Sushant.
Far from over
“I noted the registration number of the bike MH 02 DE 986 which was black in colour, but could not do so for the Scooty. I am sure CCTV cameras must have recorded the incident,” said Sushant.
Armed with this information, a bleeding Sushant and his pregnant wife went to the Powai Police Station right away to file an FIR, but the policemen registered only a Non-Cognisable Complaint and asked them to go home, assuring them that the attackers would be caught.
“This incident has shaken my beliefs to the core. I can’t believe that such rogues exist who do not care even for a heavily-pregnant woman and have the audacity to beat citizens up in the middle of a busy, crowded Mumbai locality.
No one came forward to help us for nearly 15 minutes. I was born in Mumbai and have been brought up here, but I have never seen such an incident in this city. My wife is in state of shock,” said Sushant.
Action at last
On Sunday, Sushant approached Dolphy Dsouza, nagar coordinator for NGO Police Reforms Watch. The issue was taken up with Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria yesterday, and he ordered an immediate FIR.
“This is a clear case of shoddy policing. No FIR was lodged despite a pregnant woman being involved, and the police officials did not even take Sushant for a medical test, even though he was bleeding. These are worrying aspects and raise serious questions about how such cases are handled. We are, however, very satisfied with the prompt action initiated by Commissioner Maria.”
Officials from the Powai police said that, following the registration of the FIR yesterday, they had managed to retrieve the address to which the bike was registered and that the accused would be arrested soon.
'Will crack down'
Speaking to mid-day, Commissioner Rakesh Maria said, “An FIR has been filed and I have ordered an inquiry into the incident. A clear and transparent inquiry will be conducted and action will be taken against the errant cops.” Maria indicated that action would not only be taken against the officials responsible but also the senior police inspector of Powai police station, and that the policemen could be transferred. He has directed officers to take the complaints of common people properly and give justice by taking proper action.