One policeman was killed and another injured on Wednesday after a constable, tinkering with his colleague’s pistol and chatting with the victims, accidentally fired the gun.
Shyam Padvi (30) a police driver with the Motor Transport Department, which oversees all police vehicles, was rushed to Bhabha hospital within 15 minutes of the mishap, but was declared dead on arrival.
“We have booked the accused, Shekhar Dighe (27), for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Investigations are on,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Nisar Tamboli.
Dighe, a commando with the anti-terror Quick Response Team, had just reported for duty at the QRT office on Carter Road, Bandra, at 10.30 am. Fellow constable Poonaji Gavas, who was going off duty, handed the service weapon — a 9 mm pistol — to Dighe for the day shift.
“Dighe was standing outside the office with Padvi and Gavas and chatting as he checked the pistol,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Western Region) Amitabh Gupta, whose office compound houses the QRT team. “One round was accidentally fired and the bullet pierced Padvi’s mouth.”
As the bullet struck Padvi, fragments hit an iron pole nearby and ricocheted, injuring another constable, Subhash Ghale, in the cheek.
“I heard a small explosion and saw a police van rushing to the ACP’s office and thought another bomb had gone off,” said Kiran Bhosale, a security guard at the Smoking Hill residential building nearby.
Laxman Singh (62), a passerby and local resident, added that the victim was rushed to hospital immediately.
“As soon as I heard the gunshot, I went to see what was going on,” he said. “There was a huge crowd of policemen and passersby, and blood was splattered all over the spot. The victim had already been rushed to hospital.”
Ballistics experts and police teams from the Bandra police station and the Crime Branch descended on the spot soon after, to examine the scene of the crime.
“We have recorded the statements of the accused, the surviving victim and the policeman who handed over the gun,” said a police officer, on condition of anonymity. “We will record the statements of all the other staff members on duty at the time and are looking for other eyewitnesses.”