“You don’t know who I am. My father was a former inspector general in Punjab. You cannot arrest me,” yelled Parminder Paramdeep Sandhu, 41, as the policemen at Versova police station interrogated him after he knocked down a cyclist in the early hours of Monday at Lokhandwala while driving allegedly under the influence of alcohol.
The cyclist, Ramprakash Singh, a 31-year-old hawker, was flung off his bicycle when Sandhu’s Ford Endeavour crashed into him at Lokhandwala Circle, but Sandhu did not stop. Singh suffered minor injuries and was taken to Cooper hospital by locals.
A journalist who was present at the spot chased Sandhu and caught up with him at Four Bungalows, from where he was picked up by the police.
Nandkumar Mhetar, senior inspector of Versova police station, said Sandhu was very drunk. “When we questioned him about where he was coming from, he could not answer us, he was so drunk. He started yelling obscenities and hit the policemen with his fists,” said Mhetar.
The police booked and arrested Sandhu under sections 279 (rash driving), 337 (causing hurt), 354 (assaulting government servants) and 504 (intentional insult) of the Indian Penal Code. He has also been charged under relevant sections of the Motor Vehicles Act for drink driving.
Sandhu was produced before a local court on Monday, where he alleged that the policemen hit him. “The court has said that it will have Sandhu’s statement recorded, following which a departmental inquiry will be ordered into his claim. That’s fine as we have CCTV footage to substantiate our version,” said Mhetar.
The court remanded Sandhu in police custody till Tuesday.
The 30-year-old woman who was with Sandhu when the accident took place said the duo had been returning from a Malaysian restaurant. “Neither of us was drunk. We had two pints of beer each. How can that get anyone drunk?” asked the woman, a homemaker who lives with her husband and two children in Andheri. “When the police reached the spot, they punched Paramdeep and asked him to get into their vehicle.”
Sandhu’s friend believes the matter is being blown out of proportion. “Even if Paramdeep did knock the cyclist down, the cyclist turned up at the police station with a mere plaster. He did not want to file a complaint. But the cops had lost it.”