What had started as a routine eviction turned into a scene straight from a potboiler for the Chembur police on Monday, when the tenant they had come to act against put up a human shield around the property, then turned on the gas cylinder valves in his house and finally consumed insecticide.
On Monday afternoon, a team of police officers and government officials went to evict Ravi Rajan Pandiyan, 40, from a bungalow in collectors’ colony, Chembur, which was rented to him in 2011 but which he now claims to own.
When the officers reached the bungalow, they saw a group of women had formed a human shield around it. It turned out Pandian, a lawyer, had hired them.
Once the police managed to clear the human shield, they found Pandiyan, to deter them from entering the house, had switched on the cooking gas valve. “On entering the bungalow, we found the gas valve was turned on. We immediately opened all the windows, as a single spark could have caused major damage,” said a senior police officer.
The drama did not end there. After the police entered the house, Pandiyan picked up a can of insecticide and drank it. Two police officers, who tried to stop him, also had to be hospitalised after the liquid fell into their eyes.
“An assistant police inspector was taken to hospital as the insecticide splashed into his eyes, while another had to seek treatment. Pandiyan was hospitalised, and discharged later,” said the officer.
Pandiyan claims he had bought the bungalow from the owner and had approached courts against the notice to vacate, said police.
“Pandiyan had breached the leave and license agreement, following which the owner approached the appellate authority. Pandiyan was issued notices to vacate the bungalow,” said Dnyanesh Deode, senior inspector, Chembur police station. Pandiyan already has 13 cases registered against him, including cheating, forgery and assault, said Deode.
After Monday’s incident, the police have arrested 12 people, including Pandiyan and the women he hired. The accused have been booked under the relevant sections of the IPC.