Goons burn RTI activist's bike outside police chowky

Jul 15, 2013, 23:52 IST | Sukirt D Gumaste

Victim alleges supporters of local corporator are involved in the crime; denying the charge, the latter claims the activist has been misusing RTI to threaten people

If you think that a police chowky is one of the safest places in the city, your belief may take a severe beating. Deepak Ovhal, an RTI activist, who lives just opposite to the Parvati Darshan Police Chowky, and had parked his motorcycle (MH 12 DC 7456) in front of the post, received the shock of this life when he saw his charred two-wheeler — it had been set ablaze by unknown miscreants.

Deepak Ovhal, who lives opposite Parvati Darshan Police Chowky, had parked his motorcycle (MH 12 DC 7456) in front of the post. PIC/Sachin Thakare

“My vehicle was torched in front of the police chowky on July 8 around 4 am. My neighbour, who informed me about the incident, saw the charred motorcycle at 5 am. We immediately lodged a complaint, but the culprits haven’t been caught yet,” Ovhal said, expressing disbelief that something like this could happen in front of a police chowky.

“The incident is proof enough that the cops aren’t performing their duty properly. Cops claim that they do regular patrolling at night, and even a constable posted at the police chowky told me that he was outside the chowky till 3 am. If it’s true then how can such an incident take place?” Ovhal questioned.

The activist also alleged that cops are refusing to take cognizance of his complaint, as supporters of the local corporator Ashok Harnawal were allegedly involved in the crime. Ovhal claims that he had sought details of road construction contract through RTI and this allegedly irked Harnawal.

Crime scene: Deepak Ovhal at the spot where his bike was burnt. The vehicle was parked opposite a police chowky. PIC/Sachin Thakare

In his FIR, Ovhal had alleged that his bike was burnt because he has been raising a voice against the bad condition of roads from Parvati Police Chowky to Satara Road. He had also filed several complaints about the appalling state of roads in Sahakar Nagar ward office. Ovhal had mentioned Shiv Sena corporator Harnawal, road contractor Nitin Barghade, Babalu Pawar as suspects and has demanded a police inquiry in the case.

“The cops are reluctant to take any action against them. It’s impossible to burn a vehicle in front of police chowky without police support,” Ovhal alleged.
Refuting the allegations, Harnawal said, “Ovhal is misusing the RTI Act to threaten people. He has demanded a bribe from the contractor for not filing the RTI plea. He can seek any information through RTI, and I have no problems with that.

I have not initiated the road work in that area; it was done under the budgetary provisions of PMC.” Harnawal alleged that Ovhal has taken loans from several people, and the lenders may have burnt his vehicle. He is taking advantage of this incident to threaten us.”

Parvati Darshan Police Chowky comes under the jurisdiction of Dattawadi police station. Speaking to MiD DAY, Satish Goekar, PI of the police station, said, “We are investigating the case. Actually, Ovhal has taken loans from several people, and we suspect that those people may be involved in the crime.” 

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