My son's soul can now rest in peace, says Ravindra Patil's mother
Ravindra Patil was Salman Khan's bodyguard on that fateful night and testified that he was at the wheel; Patil's mother recalls her son's downward spiral into alcoholism and, later, his death due to tuberculosis
“Today, my son’s soul can truly rest in peace.” These are the sentiments of Sushilabai Patil, the mother of Ravindra Patil, who was the bodyguard of actor Salman Khan on that fateful night. It was Ravindra’s testimony, in which he said it was Khan who was driving the car under influence of alcohol, that was the key evidence in the actor being pronounced guilty by the Sessions court yesterday.
A frail Ravindra Patil in his home at Naigaon police quarters in 2007. He died, penniless, of tuberculosis at the Sewri TB Hospital the same year. File pic
Speaking to mid-day from Dhule, Virendra Patil (46), Ravindra’s elder brother, who works as a constable with the State Reserve Police Force in the same town, stated that his 65-year-old mother always blamed Khan for his younger brother’s death.
“Though he died of tuberculosis, he was fit and fine till this case occurred. His health went into a downward spiral after the incident and during the case (proceedings). My mother believed it was Salman Khan and the stress of the case that led to my brother’s health and, subsequently, his death.”
“On Wednesday, my mother was glued to the television since morning. She was happy at the guilty verdict, as she believed justice, though delayed, has not been denied,” stated Virendra. “I was on duty when I learnt the news about the conviction and punishment pronounced by the court.
This incident changed our lives forever and he (Ravindra) was heavily on alcohol thereafter,” he added. Interestingly, Kailash Patil, the second eldest brother of Ravindra, is also a constable with Mumbai Police. He, too, had deposed in the Sessions court during the trial.
Ravindra used to stay in Room 61 of Building number 3 at the Naigaon police quarters. A monthly rent of Rs 230 was deducted from his salary as rent for the 180-sq ft room (see box).
Police constables who were colleagues of Ravindra Patil, on condition of anonymity, said that Patil had taken an emergency loan of Rs 70,000 on July 10, 2004, and another personal loan of Rs 34,300 on September 29, 2007 from the Police Co-operative Credit Society, Naigaon Police headquarters.
As per the records, he had cleared only Rs 59,013 and still owed Rs 45,287 to the Co-operative Credit Society. An elected representative of the Credit Society said, “Soon after Patil’s demise, his balance loan amount was waived using the funds from ‘gangajali’ account, wherein member constables contribute Rs 50 towards the said account and the corpus is used to clear such bad debts, when a constable dies before repaying his loan.”
mid-day had carried a series of reports on Patil’s declining health and his being diagnosed with the disease. The ailing cop spent his last days at the civic TB hospital in Sewri, where he died in 2007, penniless. The credit society has now tied up with a private insurance company in order to secure the loans given to constables in case of their untimely demise.
'His room was a mess'
Every room in the police quarter is allotted on the basis of availability. Before anyone shifts into the room, they make inquiries about its previous occupants. The current occupant is Ganesh Navale, who works with the D N Nagar traffic police and has been staying here for the last seven years.
His father, Vasudev, who stays next door in room number 60, told mid-day that the room was a mess when they were allotted it. “When we got the flat, it was very dirty. We spent almost R1 lakh to make it liveable. The electricity bill had Rs 7,000 pending and I paid it from my own pocket. I then got the meter transferred to my name,” Vasudev said.