Octroi naka staffers beat up truck driver after he refused to pay bribe
Sudhir More, who was allegedly thrashed by octroi collection staffers
A truck driver was allegedly roughed up by Mulund octroi naka staff last night after he refused to pay them a bribe.
Sudhir More, a Pune-based driver who was transporting a mixed goods consignment to Mumbai for the first time, claimed that he accidentally overshot the octroi naka by a tiny margin around 9.30 pm yesterday. But, instead of making him turn back to pay the octroi, toll naka staffers allegedly beat him up, abused him and demanded a bribe to let the vehicle pass.
"The security guards even tore my shirt," said More, who claimed he did not know that he had to turn into the octroi payment lane.
"These guards don't belong to the BMC's vigilance department, yet they seized my vehicle. As it was a mistake, they could have asked me to turn around and enter the octroi lane and pay up. Instead, they started abusing me."
Ramesh Waghmare claims he was forced to pay a bribe of R500. Pics/Sameer Markande
More then called a friend and octroi agent, Jitesh Patel, who was nearby. According to Patel, BMC guards and staffers routinely indulge in such malpractice, but he had to prove this. Patel found another truck driver, Vashi resident Ramesh Waghmare (54), who was forced to pay a bribe. "I was right behind More's vehicle, and was forced to pay Rs 500," said Waghmare.
More's vehicle was impounded. "They [BMC staffers] are saying I will not get the vehicle back for a month," he said.
"Waghmare and I went to Navghar police station, but the BMC security guards didn't let us enter."
Ravindra More, deputy assessor and collector, Mulund octroi naka, trashed the allegations of assault and bribery.
"The vehicle owner has overshot the octroi naka several times in the past. Our staff had to chase him down and bring him back to the naka."
He said the vehicle was seized by the BMC’s vigilance team and a non-cognisable complaint was filed against the driver.