Bollywood filmmaker Ashok Pandit who is more in the news as a social activist, would be taking to the streets of Lokhandwala on Tuesday. Pandit will be joined by residents of several housing societies in Oshiwara and Lokhandwala.
“We are not seeking the transfer or removal of any corrupt official, but the re-instatement of a police official who paid the price for being honest,” Pandit told HT on Monday.
Pandit informed that hundreds of residents from housing societies in Lokhandwala-Amboli-Oshwara and as many as 15 social and voluntary organisations would be taking a silent march from Joggers park in Lokhandwala to the Oshiwara police station in protest of the ‘abrupt’ transfer of senior inspector Dillip Patil to the west region control room on April 4.
According to sources Patil became a marked man in the eyes of his seniors after he demolished an encroachment by a reputed builder at the Regional Transport Office (RTO) at Four Bungalows, late last month.
Significantly, Patil’s transfer followed the escape of Aman Mishra, an accused in a kidnapping case of Lokhandwala-based bar girl Dolly Thakur in January. Patil was a part of the investigating team. Inspector Chandra-shekhar Gaikwad, Head Constable Avinash Patil and Police Nayak Yeshwant Mahale of the Oshiwara police had been suspended following an inquiry into Mishra's escape.
Describing Patil as an upright and dedicated officer Raju Manmani, resident of Tarapur building in Lokhandwala said that the transfer was not only shocking but also uncalled for. Speaking on the backdrop of escape of Mishra, which is suspected to be the reason for Patil’s transfer, Manmani said: “ This action was taken against Patil for negligence of a junior staff. Why not the same apply to his seniors?”
Pandit told HT that Patil was instrumental in restoring law and order in the ever-disturbed locality (Lokhandwala-Oshiwara) in his eight-months stint as the head of the Oshiwara police station. “In fact, an opinion poll of the residents will better speak of his popularity,” Pandit said, adding: “At a time when the city police is trying to bridge the gap between the police and public, the transfer of an honest officer like Patil clearly exposes such claims.”
Nelson De Souza, who heads the St Blaise Civic and Social Cell, a social organisation belonging to the Amboli Church said: “Patil’s transfer has raised a serious question mark in the minds of the people about the credibility of the Mumbai police’s top brass. After a long time, we had an officer who was accessible to the common man 24X7. It seems his simplicity and honesty did not go down well with his superiors. Otherwise, what was the need to transfer such an officer on a filmsy ground”.
Latif Nakhwa, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, who also heads the Mohalla Committee in Jogeshwari (west), claimed that Patil stirred the hornet's nest after he acted against a powerful landshark who is backed by a powerful IPS lobby. “But we are not going to sit quitely. Such an humble and honest officer cannot be cowed down," he throbbed.