Police discourage complaints against errant auto drivers | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Police discourage complaints against errant auto drivers

It took close to two months and a call from the police commissioner’s office for the Dahisar police to finally register a drink driving complaint against an auto driver by a 33-year-old event manager and resident of the suburb.

mumbai Updated: Jul 13, 2012 01:02 IST
Puja Changoiwala

It took close to two months and a call from the police commissioner’s office for the Dahisar police to finally register a drink driving complaint against an auto driver by a 33-year-old event manager and resident of the suburb.

When Ashok Poojari first approached the Dahisar police on May 18, the day of the incident, the on-duty police officers tried to convince him to drop the case, he alleged.

On Wednesday, after the Dahisar police received a call from the commissioner’s office inquiring about Poojari’s grievance, they finally recorded his statement.

The incident took place around 9pm, Poojari said, when he and four family members left home to go to a restaurant close to the railway station. At the auto stand, Poojari said his wife and sister-in-law got into an auto. As Poojari instructed the driver, Shrimant Nikam, 55, on where to drop them, he realised that Nikam was smelling of alcohol. “He was going to drive drunk. We had a heated argument and I asked him to come to Dahisar police station,” said Poojari.

At the police station, Poojari met sub-inspector Pradeep Sawant who told him that as the police were short-staffed, he would have to take Nikam to the forensic science laboratory at Kalina himself for the alcohol test. “I know the procedure so I persisted,” he said.

Eventually, after midnight, sub-inspector Sachin Patil took Nikam to Bhagwati hospital for a blood test. “Nikam was made to drive the auto. I was asked to wait outside the hospital. When we returned to the police station around 1am, Patil asked me to drop the case as Nikam would not be able to afford the drink-driving fine,” Poojari said.

Having lost faith in the Dahisar police, Poojari left and wrote to the police commissioner’s office.Ansar Pirjade, senior inspector of Dahisar police station, confirmed that Poojari’s statement was recorded on Wednesday. “Patil was only eight days old in the job when the incident happened and didn’t know the procedure. We can’t pay attention to every little incident,” Pirjade said. “It is not a question of whether or not the driver was drunk. He can be drunk when going home.”

When this reporter called Pirjade again an hour later, he narrated a different story. He claimed Poojari and Nikam argued after Poojari insisted that he accommodate him and four family members in the auto. “He brought Nikam to the station complaining that he had not displayed his badge so our officer charged Nikam Rs100 under the Motor Vehicles Act for not displaying the badge,” he said.