'Wanted' goon spotted next to Priya Dutt at Mumbai rally

Apr 23, 2014, 06:33 IST | Saurabh Vaktania

On Monday evening, at MP Priya Dutt’s rally in the slums of Bandra (West), a man standing next to the politician waved to the crowds and smiled at passing pedestrians.

Congress MP Priya Dutt’s rally in the slum pockets of Bandra yesterday
Congress MP Priya Dutt’s rally in the slum pockets of Bandra yesterday

With Dutt grabbing all the eyeballs, almost no one noticed that the man standing next to her Sajid Mohammad Sahab is listed as a wanted criminal on the registers of the Bandra police – the same cops who were guarding the rally that evening. After a report carried by mid-day revealed on March 19 that Sahab had brutally assaulted a man over a mango tree, the Bandra police had registered an FIR against the man.

Akbar Siraj Khan
Akbar Siraj Khan

They subsequently arrested one of the other men accused in the case, but Sahab is still wanted in the case (‘Mumbai man brutally beaten up for trying to save tree’). But going by how Sahab was seen hobnobbing with Congress and NCP leaders including Dutt and Baba Siddique on Monday’s rally, it seems that the ‘wanted’ status is just on paper.

After this report appeared in mid-day on March 19, the Bandra police registered an FIR against Sahab
After this report appeared in mid-day on March 19, the Bandra police registered an FIR against Sahab (Please click here or on the image above to view the full story

The rally, which started around 4.30 pm from Patel Nagri slaughter compound, and ended at New Kantwadi around 8.30 pm, had 200 party workers participating. More than a dozen police officers from Bandra police station controlled the crowds, turning a blind eye to the presence of a wanted criminal in their midst.

After mid-day’s report on the brutal attack that sent Khan to the ICU, the Bandra police registered a case against Sahab
After mid-day’s report on the brutal attack that sent Khan to the ICU, the Bandra police registered a case against Sahab

When contacted, Senior Police Inspector Ramchandra Dhawale of Bandra police station said, “I am aware of the matter. Based on the complaint, we have registered case against Sahab, but are verifying his involvement in the case. After our investigations are over, we will arrest him if we feel the need.”

'It is shocking that he is roaming free'
The case in question involves a team of about 20 goons showing up to uproot a mango tree from a spot in Bandra last month, and brutally assaulting the complainant Akbar Siraj Khan (57) who had planted it 25 years ago, to mark the birth of his daughter.

According to Khan, the goons brought a JCB machine with them. When the machine moved forward to cut the tree, Khan ran towards the tree to oppose the men, and was assaulted brutally with punches, kicks and iron rods, landing Khan in the ICU. One of the men who participated in this vicious attack was Sahab. Khan said, “I was assaulted violently by the goons, in front of my 12-year-old daughter.

They hit me with rods and threatened to kill me.” He added, “The most vicious among all the attackers was Sahab, who was seen in the rally. When I was down, he kicked me several times. He was the one who brought the goons.” Khan added, “It is shocking that the accused is roaming free, and the police haven’t arrested him.

I wont get my tree back, but at least the accused should be arrested. In fact, the police are protecting him.” He added, “Ever since the incident, my family has been under tremendous pressure. My family members say that I should sell this house and leave Bandra. I find it difficult to concentrate on work as I am still in pain.

Police personnel are hand in glove with criminals, and politicians who use such criminals.” The Bandra police had registered a case against Sahab and another man named Salim Abdul Rehman Qureshi under sections 323, 326, 324 and 34 of the IPC and sections 8 and 21 of the Indian Forest Act. While Qureshi was arrested after the mid-day report, Sahab was never taken into custody.

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