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This is why most towed vehicles in Mumbai get damaged

A cinematographer filmed a traffic cop and two workers severely damaging a car while picking it up from Matunga, and posted the footage on Facebook and YouTube

A video showing traffic police and towing operators breaking into a car to release the handbrake for hauling the vehicle has gone viral.

The video, shot by Tandon (below), shows the two towing operators jimmying the car window
The video, shot by Tandon, shows the two towing operators jimmying the car window

Nikhil Tandon, a resident of Malad and a cinematographer by profession, who recorded the video and uploaded it on Facebook and YouTube, said, “A month ago, my car was picked up from Kandivli area by traffic cops.

A cop arrives to help them and tells Tandon to mind his business
A cop arrives to help them and tells Tandon to mind his business

They broke the number plate and bumper of the vehicle, and damaged it completely. This is illegal. A car should be properly towed with a van meant for the purpose.”

Nikhil Tandon
Nikhil Tandon

According to Tandon, on February 18, he had some personal work at Mysore Association Hall, Matunga (East). “After I was done, I stepped outside and saw two towing operators with a long steel strip, trying to break into a car through the window. I asked them to stop, but they did not, and so I decided to record the events on my mobile phone.”

When Tandon turned on the camera, he says the two towing operators ‘asked him to stop recording, as they had permission from a police officer’.

One of them then went on to say to the other that even if the event was filmed, nothing would happen to them. At that point, a traffic head constable got out of the towing van and asked Tandon why he was recording a video, and if he was the car’s owner.

“I told the cop that he was encouraging the towing workers. He then asked me that if the vehicle was not mine, why was I shooting a video,” Tandon said. Tandon kept recording and tried to get a glimpse of the head constable’s name tag, which the latter was hiding.

As more people gathered there, the towing operators got rid of the metal strip, and began efforts to tow the car from the front. The cop, meanwhile, was trying to distract Tandon. The workers finally broke the grill and bumper, and took away the car. Tandon said, “I told them that this was wrong, and they cannot dent the vehicle, but they simply took off.”

He added, “I have posted the video on Facebook and YouTube, as I want people to be aware of such improprieties. I suffered a huge loss in a similar situation. They are actually stealing the car.” The video has been uploaded with the header, ‘Corrupt traffic police and towing operators breaking a car to release the hand brake’.

Cops speak
The towing contractors and helpers don’t care about damaging someone's property, and that too in the presence of a police officer. I’ve seen this before and finally decided something needs to be done about it. The car was not even blocking any traffic; was it necessary to tow it? The rules need to change. Action needs to be taken against them. - Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyaya, joint commissioner of police (Traffic)

Our officials are not at fault. We take necessary precaution while towing cars. We have proper permission from our superiors. Jimmying a door with a steel strip is legal, when a car is parked illegally. Sometimes damage takes place, but the money is refunded by the towing operator. Compensation can also be claimed through insurance. This matter has been resolved to my knowledge. - Sujata Patil, senior inspector, Matunga traffic division

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13 Comments

  • Aditya Prasad24-Feb-2014

    Joke is this >> "Damage happen, but the money is refunded by the towing operator" LOL

  • Amit24-Feb-2014

    This has also happened with my car which was towed twice from Santacruz west 17th Road and i have lost the front bumper grill twice and other damages. When asked they ignored and took the fine.

  • Dinesh Mithe27-Feb-2014

    Traffic Police target Aam Admi, but they allow private tourist bus to park on road even if traffic jam. They allow Water tankers to park there trucks in a narrow lane, They must take necessary action.

  • VARUN24-Feb-2014

    ITS THE FACT THAT WHEN ARE TOWING ANY VEHICLE THEY DONT CARE ABOUT THE DAMAGES BEEN MADE BY THEM.

  • RM26-Feb-2014

    Why not slap the policeman and kick the towing personnel between their legs and give them the amount of fine that gets refunded for medical charges

  • Alice24-Feb-2014

    This is shameful and how. Sometimes damage takes place, but the money is refunded by the towing operator. Compensation can also be claimed through insurance. How true is this? I don't know... Can someone tell?

  • Nelson25-Feb-2014

    "money is refunded by the towing operator" --- Sujata Patil, senior inspector, Matunga traffic division. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha..... 'money' is refunded to the traffic police.

  • Kunal26-Feb-2014

    So easy to say that claim it from the insurance. Will the Government/ towing agency compensate for the lost No Claim Bonus (could be a substantial amt). Why cant the towing agency/ errant policeman pay the damage. Merely refunding the fine/towing charges is not commensurate to repair cost In other countries in case of accidents the insurance claim paid is recovered from the insurance company of the wrong doer and the NCB does not get affected

  • john24-Feb-2014

    1- In the name of clearing the traffic the towing is made without caring for vehicles. 2- The Cops do not prevent the parking but wait for the parties to park and tow it. 3- Cops fond only vehicles of individual citizen and not of CAR SHOW ROOMS.Any day one can come see Andheri linking road near FUN REPUBLIC. What Cops will say on this.

  • danny26-Feb-2014

    cops are worst than beggars. lawfully gunda. 99% cops are chor. people should come forward and film them when they are taking bribe. all the road venders hofta them. everybody knows that. night patrol eat free from the food venders..their should be another police station to complain against the police. that should be non profit organization. victim by police.ordinary people scared police than gunda. police are certified gunda.

  • MGMS26-Feb-2014

    To Add , my vehicle was parked well in aside of road in andheri JP road , Towing people only got down to tow away my vehicle and not the others which were parked in front / back of my car .. upon such act i was about to ask the reason to them the cop inside truck asked tow workers to get off from there . People from surrounding informed me that other care oweners have made their payments well in adv to these cops ? (HAFTA) I was shocked ..

  • RM26-Feb-2014

    Why not slap the policeman and kick the towing personnel between their legs and give them the amount of fine that gets refunded for medical charges

  • franklin26-Feb-2014

    Same with thane Godbunder stretch. They will particularly leave showroom cars parked on the road and tow the car behind belonging to others. I guess the cops are being taken care for not touching showroom cars.

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