A nearly three-year wait to register an FIR ended last month for Suresh Salve after the Police Complaints Authority directed the Mulund police station to file a case against seven men who had attacked him in 2015. The relief came only after Salve approached Ramdas Athawale, the Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment and leader of the Republican Party of India (RPI), who filed a complaint with the authority.
Salve (45), who is employed with a labour union, lives in Siddharth Nagar in Mulund west. He is also a party worker of the RPI. On March 4, 2015, he was allegedly attacked by seven men outside his home. Salve said that at 4 pm that day, he was sitting outside his home speaking with his wife Tulsa and daughter Pooja. According to Salve’s complaint, when the men were passing by, one of them spat near the entrance of his house.
“When I asked the man why he spat outside my house, he began to abuse me,” Salve said in his complaint. Soon, Salve was surrounded by the group, who allegedly abused and assaulted him. The men kicked Salve and hit him with bamboo sticks in front of his wife and daughter, the police complaint said. “When my daughter tried to rescue me, the men hit her too,” Salve said.
He tried to escape the men, but they chased him and hit him on the head with an iron rod, the police said. “My daughter tried to help, but the men were attacking her too. I wanted to go to her rescue but my head was bleeding heavily,” said Salve.
He added that the assault continued for several minutes more even after the police arrived and only ended when the men saw that Salve had suffered heavy blood loss. He was rushed to Mulund General Hospital and treated for multiple injuries. During his week-long stay in hospital, a sub-inspector from Mulund police station registered his statement. However, no criminal case was registered against the men for attacking Salve.
“The police kept telling me that their investigation was under way. When no action was taken from their side, I approached Ramdas Athawale,” he said.
Athawale filed a complaint with the Police Complaints Authority last year. After multiple hearings, during which Salve narrated his story and the police were offered a chance to explain their inability to register an FIR, the authority ruled in Athawale’s favour on January 11. The police were directed to immediately record a fresh statement from Salve, register an FIR and initiate investigation.
On January 18, the police booked the assailants —- Rupesh Panchal, Rajesh Panchal, Suresh Gaikwad, Siddesh Pawar, Sharad Awhad, Vishal Devkar and Karan Nagare —- and charged them with voluntarily causing hurt using dangerous weapons and means and common intention under the IPC.
However, in its previous hearing on January 31, the authority expressed displeasure at the police for booking the men only with assault and for not charging the attackers with rioting. The police replied that sections were added to the FIR after seeking an opinion from its law officer.
“At present we are not happy with the report of the LO but it is not our conclusion as the investigation is in progress,” the authority observed in its order.