“I didn’t know when I was hit,” said Constable Naresh Phalke (34), just out of surgery, recalling the hostage incident of Thursday in which Hemini Mehta (14) was killed by her neighbour Harish Marolia (57).
Phalke was among the policemen who rushed into Marolia’s house at Saujanya Society in Andheri and were fired upon by the retired customs officer. Phalke was hit on his left arm.
Phalke said at BSES Hospital, Andheri, where the bullet was removed on Friday, “When we heard the girl screaming, a team headed by Police Sub-Inspector Uday Patil rushed to Marolia’s flat. After hearing a gunshot, we broke open the door. Marolia fired at us as we rushed in. It was as if he was waiting for us so that he could shoot.”
Phalke added: “When I pulled out my gun, my left hand felt weak. I saw blood dripping. The bullet had hit my forearm and was lodged in my upper arm.”
Phalke, a father of two, has been with the DN Nagar police for four years. Phalke said Marolia’s wife Leena pleaded that they let him go but by then it was too late. Marolia had suffered a bullet injury, which proved fatal.
“I fell unconscious and woke up only [on Friday],” said Phalke, calling for painkillers. “The pain is unbearable. I won’t be able to work for three months.” On the next bed, Patil consoled his sobbing two-year-old daughter.
“Yesterday, nobody told her I was injured. Today, she saw my photographs in the newspapers. That’s when she was told I was injured and in hospital,” said Patil, who has been with the Oshiwara police for the past four years.
When asked whether he had met Marolia before, Patil said: “Whenever constables would visit him to check his revolver licence, Marolia would behave arrogantly. It was his nature,” said Patil, who was hurt on the palm and right arm.