On the one hand, cops are unwilling to book FIRs for serious crimes like rape, but in a case of blatant misuse of power, the theft of a retired ACP’s Rs 75 bulb is the subject of a high-level investigation by Mahim police
Try registering a police complaint and, more often than not, the officials will give you a hard time. However, when a light bulb and its connecting wire were recently stolen, the Mahim police wasted no time in registering an FIR of a theft of Rs 75 against an unknown person. Reason? The bulb belonged to retired Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dhanraj Vanjari.
Akshay Sawant points out the spot from where the light bulb was allegedly stolen at Dwarkamai Tower, Matunga. Pics/Satyajit Desai
The story came to light when, on March 9, Bandra resident, 26-year-old Akshay Sawant, obtained a copy of an FIR registered with the Mahim police station under the Right to Information Act, a copy of which is with the sunday mid- day. On February 14, complainant Sanjay Jadhav, 46, filed a complaint about the stolen bulb on behalf of Vanjari, who resides at Dwarakamai Tower, Mahim, vide FIR no 45/2015 under Section 379 (Punishment for theft).
In his complaint, he stated that his employer, Vanjari always parked his vehicle on the third floor podium of the said building, and as the parking area did not have sufficient light, Jadhav and Vanjari installed a bulb at the spot on February 8.
ACP Dhanraj Vanjari
“On February 14, at around 5.45 pm, I had visited the parking area to switch on the light, when I found that the bulb and wire were missing. I informed Vanjari and he directed me to register a police complaint,” read the complaint.
Ironically, soon after the FIR was registered, a police team visited the premises to speak to the developer’s team.
Sawant is employed with the developer, Uday Desai, who built Dwarakami Tower. Vanjari lives on the seventh floor, while the developer occupies the 17th and 18th floors of the same building.
Uday Desai, the building’s develope
Sawant said, “A police team visited the premises after the retired ACP’s complaint and wanted to conduct a panchnama of the spot where the alleged theft took place. The police officer wanted to record my statement, too, and question two security guards. The parking area is well-lit and the complaint is baseless. It is clear that the police is under pressure to register an FIR on such a trivial issue.”
Desai pointed out how the police do not usually register an FIR unless the offence is cognisable and serious in nature. “Though the case is against unknown people, I think this is being done to harass me as I am the developer, and the society is not yet formed,” he said.
His lawyer, advocate Dinesh Tiwari, said, “This only indicates how hollow our criminal justice system is, and highlights sheer misuse of power. We will move the High Court now.”
The other side
Vanjari however insisted he had no ulterior motive behind filing the complaint. “I was a police officer for 36 years and I don’t wish to harass anyone. The society is yet to be formed. I installed the light because my daughter and wife find it difficult to park the car at night. Moreover, when my employee informed me about the missing bulb and wire, I expected a satisfactory reply from the building caretakers. When nothing happened, I asked my employee to lodge the police complaint,” he said.
What cops say
Dr Mahesh Patil, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone 5, said, “We have registered the offence on the basis of the complaint received as he insisted it was a cognisable complaint. ”
When asked whether his officials usually probe a trivial case of theft for a bulb worth R75, he said, “I am not aware of the value of the stolen property. Our preliminary inquiries reveal that there are some issues between the complainant and the developer and are probing all angles.”
He added that an officer can even deny investigation into the case if, during the course of inquiry, s/he feels there is no need to conduct the probe.
Additional Commissioner of Police (central) region, RD Shinde said, “I am not aware of the FIR, but will look into it.”
Police Commissioner intervenes When Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria learnt about the FIR, he immediately spoke to Patil.
Maria said, “We are moving the local court on Monday and will submit our report under Section 157 (b) of Criminal Procedure Code.” According to the section, if it appears to the officer in charge of a police station that there is no sufficient ground for entering on an investigation, he shall not investigate the case.”
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