"The cop hit Moin who was driving the bike with his stick on the hand following which he panicked and lost control," said Rakesh Sarkar, the boy who was riding pillion when their bike met with an accident on the Bandra Reclamation Bridge late on Sunday.
The rider Moin Chand Sayeed had injured his head badly after his black Honda Pulsar bike rammed into the side concrete wall of the bridge. Moin was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of the VN Desai Hospital where he gave up his struggling for his life in the wee hours of Monday. They were on their way home when the tragedy occurred.
Rakesh told HT from his hospital bed that in an attempt to stop them from fleeing, the constable hit the deceased on his hand and due to panic Sayeed lost control of the bike and banged into the wall. He also claimed that they were not part of the original bike racers who were found revving their bikes on the reclamation portion of the bridge but were actually innocents on their way home who got caught in the police action.
The police, on the other hand, denied that the constable's action had led to Moin losing control. According to Bipin Bihari, Additional Commissioner of Police West Zone, at about 10.30 pm, the Bandra Police patrolling van including one officer and six constables received a complaint that a couple of bikers had gathered for racing on the Reclamation Bridge.
"On reaching the spot the officer found that around 25 youths on their bikes were preparing for a race. Instead of stopping them and checking their motorcycle documents and licences, the officers shooed them away," said Bihari.
"When the patrolling van reached Turner Road they received a complaint by a local resident saying that the bikers had returned and were creating a nuisance. The patrolling van took a 'U' turn and came back at the spot. Sighting the police the bikers panicked and started fleeing the spot. In the chaos Sayeed and Sarkar also started making a get away when one of the constables stopped them. The two did not, however, stop and raced away and rammed the bike straight ahead banging on the sidewall," added Bihari.
"Both youngsters were 17 years of age and had gone for a ride at the Bandra Reclamation and indulged in a group bike race there. When the police was stopping them they should have co-operated instead they tried fleeing and due to their negligence were killed.
We have registered a case against Sayeed for negligence (section 304 (A) of the IPC). We have names of some other bikers and they will also be arrested soon for rash and negligent driving," said Bihari.
"After the incident, at around 11.00pm a mob (some political workers) gathered at the spot and protested against the police alleging that the constable had deliberately hit the bikers and also that the police were drunk at the time. The police to control the crowd caned the mob to restrain them. We have registered a case of rioting against almost 40 persons and will arrest some of them soon," said Bihari.