Brave soul: Heroism of key witness in Indore robbery case goes unrecognised
We have oft heard of key witnesses turning hostile in court, either silenced with money or threats, but Vikas Shinde is not one of them. The 25-year-old was a key witness in a robbery case in Indore in which a Union Bank of India cashier was killed.indore Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:41 IST
We have oft heard of key witnesses turning hostile in court, either silenced with money or threats, but Vikas Shinde is not one of them.
The 25-year-old was a key witness in a robbery case in Indore in which a Union Bank of India cashier was killed. Shinde lost his leg, received threats from goons and even had to move for safety.
Despite the slew of deterrents, he did not budge and his testimony resulted in all six accused getting life terms.
On April 11, 2008, Shinde, a casual employee at the Rajwada branch of Union Bank of India, accompanied by cashier Brijmohan Gupta and Rekha Dube, was carrying Rs 19.5 lakh in cash in an autorickshaw to the bank chest branch at Sapna Sangeeta road when six armed robbers accosted them.
"When the six armed robbers on two motorcycles surrounded us on the Manikbagh bridge, I fought them, but one of them repeatedly stabbed me on my thigh and I collapsed. Then they struck Brijmohan ji in his chest and threatened Rekha bai and escaped with the bag (of cash)," Shinde recalls.
Brijmohan lost his life in the incident, while Shinde lost his leg from an infection caused by the poison-tipped knife. "Those were very painful days, but somehow I managed," he says.
The bank did come forward and helped him with his medical bills and also rewarded him for his bravery with `50,000. But, Shinde's ordeal was far from over.
"We caught the accused within three days, but during the trial they started threatening Vikas and we helped him move to a new place for his safety," the then Juni Indore town in-charge and current deputy superintendent of police at economic offences wing (EOW) in Indore, Anand Yadav, says. "He remained true to his word and his testimony was crucial and all the accused got life terms."
And, as police officers know too well, such display of courage in the face of threats is rare.
Manoj Singh, now superintendent of police (SP-EOW), who was then the additional SP-West, says, "Often police witnesses turn hostile due to money or threats or the combination of both. What Vikas did is rare and we too did our best to counsel and protect him."
It has been seven years since that frightful day, but those wounds are yet to heal. Today, Shinde is unemployed. Though he works part-time as a whitewasher, his handicap has proved be an impediment. "I cannot climb very high with these legs and there is the fear of falling down," he says.
Undeterred, however, he hopes to become a security guard today and has got himself a gun license. The police have also promised to help.