Cops fight over jurisdiction, delay FIR against 3 who molested woman at Lalbaugcha Raja's procession

Sep 21, 2013, 11:49 IST | Vinay Dalvi

After MiD DAY published shocking pictures of a woman being molested in an immersion procession, cops from Bhoiwada police station visited MiD DAY office to collect evidence, but refused to file FIR; case was finally registered by Kalachowkie police just before midnight

A day has passed since images captured by MiD DAY lensman Atul Kamble went viral, showing a helpless woman being molested in the immersion procession of Lalbaugcha Raja near Bharatmata cinema. While the images brought shock and shame, cops spent the entire day fighting over jurisdiction. Finally around 11.30 pm last night, Kalachowkie police registered an FIR against three unidentified men.

Pic/Atul Kamble

The three accused have been booked under section 354 (outraging the modesty of a woman) of the IPC.

This man and two others have been booked for molestation

Senior Police Inspector Sunil Tondwalkar from Bhoiwada police station visited the MiD DAY office in Parel yesterday, and recorded the statement Kamble, who had captured the shocking images from atop the Lalbaug flyover, where he was stationed on Wednesday afternoon for photographs of the immersion procession. Kamble’s images show three perverts using the chaos and crowds as a cover to grope and grab the woman as she struggles to make her way out of the crowd.

Click to view: Woman molested during Lalbaugcha Raja's visarjan procession

Kamble even accompanied PI Tondwalkar to the exact spot where the incident had taken place, and soon a fight over jurisdiction ensued.

Atul Kamble
Atul Kamble

“It does not fall in our jurisdiction,” said Tondwalkar, adding, “It is the Kalachowkie police’s jurisdiction. We will refer the matter to them, or we will register an FIR and then pass on the case to them.”

Kamble also handed over a CD with the photographs, to aid the cops in their investigations. “The culprits seem to be locals. We will try to identify them. We will also flash their photos to all police stations after registering the FIR,” said an officer from Kalachowkie police station.

“Despite strict bandobaast, some perverts like this use the cover of a crowd and molest young women who come to see the immersion. Such people should be arrested. The girl should have shouted for help, so that the public could have dealt with them. They seem to be working as a group,” said another police officer.

The incident
On Wednesday, MiD DAY lensman Atul Kamble’s camera had captured shocking images of a young woman being groped and grabbed repeatedly by a group of men, amidst the chaos and the crowds that accompany the visarjan procession for the iconic Lalbaugcha Raja (Visarjan villains, September 20).

The images, captured by Kamble from atop the Lalbaug flyover, left no room for doubt that the molesters were skilled at disguising their movements.

The images soon went viral in the media, with television channels beaming the horrific images and social media networkers taking to websites to express their outrage.

This is not the first such incident to have marred celebrations this year. On September 16, a video was doing the rounds on the Internet, which showed mandal volunteers dragging and pulling female devotees away from the idol. 

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