Video: Miscreant sets billiards champion's car tyre on fire in Mumbai

While the incident caused Ashok Shandilya to skip matches at a national tournament, he was more concerned about the safety hazard the fire could have caused for his family

Asian Games gold medallist Ashok Shandilya was forced to miss his matches at the National Billiards and Snooker Championship in Kolkata, after an unidentified miscreant set his car’s tyre ablaze in the early hours of Sunday.

On Sunday, Shandilya got a call from his neighbour, informing him that someone had set his vehicle’s tyre ablaze
On Sunday, Shandilya got a call from his neighbour, informing him that someone had set his vehicle’s tyre ablaze

The entire incident was captured by a CCTV camera, but the culprit, who was wearing a helmet, could not be identified. Shandilya was alarmed by the incident and the danger it posed to his family who were at home, adjacent to the vehicle.

The CCTV footage clearly shows the culprit fiddling with the tyre of Ashok Shandilya’s SUV, and then running away as it erupts in a blaze
The CCTV footage clearly shows the culprit fiddling with the tyre of Ashok Shandilya’s SUV, and then running away as it erupts in a blaze

To his dismay, however, the Bhoiwada police only registered a non-cognisable offence, instead of an FIR. “I was in Indore a few days ago.

I was to return to Mumbai on Sunday morning, and I had a flight to Kolkata for the tournament, in which I had my first match at 10 am on Monday. On Sunday morning, I got a call from my neighbour, informing me that someone had set my car’s tyre on fire,” Shandilya told mid-day.

Caught on cam

When Shandilya reached home, he saw that one of the tyres on his Mahindra Xylo had indeed been burned. But he was more shocked when he went through the CCTV footage and saw the whole episode unfold.

“I have installed CCTV cameras in my house due to an increase in crime. When I went through the CCTV footage, I was shocked to see the whole incident,” Shandilya recalled. The footage showed the culprit approach the SUV around 4 am on Sunday, pour some substance on one of the tyres, and then set it ablaze and escape.

“This is very serious issue; I had to make police complaint. The safety of my family is most important to me. The car’s tank was full; it had 50 litres of diesel held just above the tyre, and the car was parked adjacent to my house,” said Shandilya, who later took a late flight to Kolkata yesterday to join the tournament.

While the championship federation agreed to reschedule his matches, he may now have to play as many as four matches on the very same day, to make up for lost time.

Cop speak
While Senior Police Inspector Sunil Tondwalkar refused to comment on why the police had only registered an NC in the matter, Additional Commissioner of Police (central region) R D Shinde said, “An FIR has to be filed in the matter and investigation should be conducted. I have checked the issue and ordered that an FIR be filed for it.”

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