Deshraj Singh (30) is back at his native home in UP.
But it’s no pleasure trip for the young hotelier.
Singh claims it was fear for his life that induced him to flee Mumbai.
According to him, Anup Dange, a sub-inspector at Antop Hill police station, is attempting to grab his restaurant and has even threatened to kill him in an ‘encounter’.
Singh has recorded an entire conversation with the cop on the basis of which, an inquiry has been instated against Dange and his senior Shamsher Khan Pathan, who recently retired.
Singh is a resident of Sion-Koliwada and has been operating a Chinese eatery in the area for the past five years.
Last year, Dange allegedly called him to the police station, asking him to submit documents pertaining to the restaurant.
He also asked Singh to close down the establishment.
Singh says he provided him the papers, which were later returned by Dange, after he had collected photocopies of them.
“On a few occasions, Dange himself came to the eatery. He abused and threatened me frequently so I would comply with his demands. Several times he sent constables who asked me to shut the restaurant down,” said Singh.
On March 2, 2012, Dange allegedly called Singh to the police station.
“He placed his service revolver on the table, removing it from a drawer. He abused me in filthy language and asked me to sign on a blank paper. I refused. Dange told me that he had taken Rs 12 lakh from someone to seize the property.
There are a lot of complaints against him and his senior inspector Pathan. He said he did not care about senior officers and claimed he would send goons and throw me out of the eatery,” Singh told MiD DAY.
Singh recorded this conversation on his mobile (copy available with MiD DAY) and complained to several authorities.
Assistant commissioner of police (ACP) Rajdoot Rupawate is currently probing the matter.
“I am looking into the issue. I know Singh has fled to Pratapgarh in UP. I have spoken to him. When he comes to Mumbai, I will record his statement. No injustice will be done with Singh,” said Rupawate.
On April 27, Singh’s uncle Rajnath also filed a criminal writ petition (copy with MiD DAY) in high court against Dange and Pathan.
“I have ownership of the gala (restaurant) since 1966.
At present its market value is more than Rs 1.5 crore. But Dange wants us to sell it for four lakh. He is adopting all kinds of methods to grab the property,” said Rajnath Singh.
The other side
“The allegations are baseless and wrong. I took action against Deshraj, so he is making false allegations. Earlier too, I had faced inquiries, but nothing was proved against me,” Dange told MiD DAY. “The accusations have no grounds. I will answer to the court if it comes to that. Doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jayega (the whole truth will then come to light),” said Shamsher Khan Pathan.
Powai-based hawker Anis Fatima Shaikh was allegedly assaulted by Anup Dange on two different occasions for holding morchas.
MiD DAY had reported the issue on April 25 (Cop assaults lady hawker activist at two morchas).
Shaikh (26), known to most as Salma, has complained to several authorities, filed a criminal writ petition and also sought compensation through the court.
Salma is the general secretary of the Azad Hawker Union and is executive committee member of National Association of Street Vendors of India.
She has even participated in the World Social Forum at Nairobi in 2006, and has travelled all over the country to fight for hawkers’ rights.