Mumbai: Inappropriate touching is not a crime, cop tells molested woman

Mar 17, 2015, 06:45 IST | Shiva Devnath

Oshiwara cops refuse to file FIR of woman who was groped outside a mall, pack her off to Bangur Nagar police station citing 'jurisdiction issues' even though the road outside is their zone

Even as the top cop has asked police to register any complaint by a woman on priority, a brazen police sub-inspector refused to take a molestation case, giving a bizarre reason that being touched inappropriately by a group of men was “not sexual assault or a crime.”

Also read: Teens molest foreigner, RPF accuses witness of lying

The spot where the incident occurred. Pic/Tahir Beig
The spot where the incident occurred. Pic/Tahir Beig

Further, he told her to go to another police station if she wished to pursue her case, saying the incident had not occurred under his jurisdiction, even though it had. The incident occurred with a 27-year-old woman, a former model who now runs an NGO.

At 1.25 am on Monday, she was travelling in an auto rickshaw when she saw a group of 8-10 people thrashing a couple of youngsters, while a girl stood and watched the scene near Mega Mall, metres away from Oshiwara police station.

Alighting from the auto rickshaw, she asked the men why they were beating up the youths, to which the men asked her to mind her own business. When the woman started asking questions to the bystander girl, two men allegedly pushed her into a car and touched her inappropriately.

The scared woman dialled the police control room and narrated the whole incident. After some time, an Oshiwara police beat marshal reached the spot and took all the men into custody.

‘What crime?’
At the police station, the men told Mangesh Rane, police sub-inspector, that they were local journalists and were beating up the youngsters because they were suspected to have been carrying MD (drug).

When Rane questioned as to where the incident occurred, the group said it was in Bangur Nagar and Rane warned them and asked them to go to the Bangur Nagar police. By this time, one and a half hours had passed and the victim was waiting outside for her turn to speak to Rane.

When she asked Rane to file an FIR because they had molested her, Rane said, “Touching in an inappropriate manner is not sexual assault or a crime.” He then instructed her to go to Bangur Nagar police station, saying Mega Mall didn’t fall in his jurisdiction.

At 3 am the victim went to Bangur Nagar police station and narrated her ordeal, and the police there had sense enough to register the case under various sections, against an unknown person. After verifying the incident spot, they transferred it to Oshiwara police, because the road outside the mall is actually under Oshiwara’s jurisdiction.

The tedious procedure took six hours and the woman had to go back to Oshiwara police at 9.30 am for further investigation. “I had gotten down to help the youth, the group of men molested me badly.

All the youths were taken to Oshiwara police station, but they escaped because PSI Mangesh Rane refused to file the FIR,” the woman told this paper. Police have detained one of the molesters, who has been identified as Sagar Singh. Singh has a past record of extortion cases.

Cop speak
Vinayak Deshmukh, deputy commissioner of police (zone IX - additional charge), said, “I am not aware about the incident. I will collect information (about the case) first and if any PSI is found guilty, appropriate action will taken against him.” PSI Mangesh Rane was unavailable for comment, despite several attempts.

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