Mumbai: Cops turn blind eye as cricketer drives car into Andheri railway station
Despite witnesses telling them driver Harmeet Singh Baddhan, a cricketer, seemed drunk and put lives at risk by speeding on the platform at Andheri, cops let him walk away
Harmeet Singh Baddhan claimed to have accidentally driven into Andheri station
The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has been bowled over by Harmeet Singh Baddhan. The former IPL player and Under-19 World Cup bowler got away with endangering the lives of commuters at Andheri railway station, when he drove his car onto the platform last morning. Instead of sending him for an alcohol blood test — as is the norm — the RPF relied on the most unreliable test of all: his body language post incident.
Slow left-arm orthodox spinner Harmeet Singh Baddhan
Around 7.15 am yesterday, Baddhan drove his Hyundai Verna onto platform 1 of Andheri station as amused and frightened commuters made way for it. He apparently slammed the brakes only when he spotted an escalator. He told the Andheri RPF that had been misguided by a passer-by and mistakenly entered the platform. He claimed that he had tried to reverse the car and head out on realising his folly, but was stopped by commuters.
After his 'misguided' misadventure, he was immediately taken into custody. The next step should have been sending him for a test to ascertain if he had been driving under the influence of alcohol. But the RPF did nothing of the sort.
Beer cans found in his car
RPF officials were convinced that since they couldn't smell any liquor on him, he was surely sober. What's more incredulous is their rationale behind not sending the former Rajasthan Royals player for a blood alcohol test: that his body language betrayed no 'drunkenness'.
KC Yadav, investigating officer, reasoned: "We can make out from a person's behaviour if he's drunk or not. We checked him and he didn't seem to be under the influence of alcohol at all. Also, his breath analysis did not show that he had not consumed any alcohol. That's why we didn't perform a medical test on him."
Baddhan with RPF personnel
Eyewitnesses at Andheri station, however, punctured this claim. Feroz, a porter, said when people at the platform rushed to check on the driver when the car finally pulled over, Baddhan appeared drunk. "He could barely walk straight."
Beer cans not proof
The police even found a few empty beer cans in the car, but Baddhan claimed that they had been around for a long time. Defending the police inaction on this finding, Yadav said, "Empty beer cans don't prove anything. We cannot say those had been consumed by the driver on the day of the incident."
Thanks to the RPF going easy on Baddhan — he was booked under sections 147 (trespass and refusal to desist from trespass), 145B (commits any nuisance or act of indecency or uses abusive or obscene language), 145C (wilfully interferes with any amenity provided by the railway administration), 154 (endangering the safety of persons travelling by railway) and 159 (disobedience of drivers or conductors of vehicles to directions of railway servant) of the Railway Act — he was granted bail for a mere R7,000 payment.