Mumbai Underground: The wolf of Wadala

Special public prosecutor argued over the social aspects and implications of Pallavi Purkayastha’s murder.

| Mumbai | Published: July 7, 2014 4:46:04 am

Having placed his legal cards before a sessions court, special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam last week argued over the social aspects and implications of lawyer Pallavi Purkayastha’s murder by a security guard in her Wadala flat in 2012. In order to describe the crime committed by Sajjad Mughal, held guilty for the murder, Nikam drew analogies from the animal kingdom.

Nikam compared Mughal to a wolf, which, according to him, epitomises cruelty. “Sajjad is a wolf in the shape of a human. In fact, he is worse than a wolf, which acts on its natural instincts,” Nikam said. The submissions brought back memories of the trial of Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab in the 26/11 terror attack. Nikam, the special public prosecutor in that case as well, had called Kasab a “mad dog” and a “poisonous snake.”


BJP (Mumbai) chief Ashish Shelar’s remark that the city can provide a wholesome meal for Rs 5 to the poor has become a talking point. Shelar was trying to point out the contrast in the city where the rich and the poor can co-exist. Where the rich can walk into a five-star hotel and spend thousands of rupees on a meal, the poor can get it for Rs 5.

Recently, BJP workers were busy drawing up a chart to show that even a cup of tea on the roadside does not cost less than Rs 12. And a poor man’s meal, vada pav, comes at Rs 10-12. A single roadside vendor’s samosa or a plate of bhajias also cost more than Rs 10. But someone cross-checked and found out that the much touted zhunka bhakar for Re 1, which was promised by the Shiv Sena, was a heavily subsidised scheme. So, many in political circles are wondering if Shelar is expecting some subsidised meal scheme that costs Rs 5.


While pictures of rainwater leaking into the recently-launched Mumbai Metro coaches drew  the ire of Mumbaikars, railway officers sought solace, albeit temporarily in the images that went viral online. On July 2, when the city witnessed its first heavy downpour of the season, Metro commuters allegedly posted pictures of water leaking into the trains and described it as a “waterfall”.

While the cause of the water leakage in the Metro was attributed to technical issues and not due to problems in the coach body – unlike suburban railway trains in which the seepage is often of rain water – at least for a day, the suburban railway trains shared the burden of the commuters’ wrath with their shiny, new ‘pals’ on the Versova-Andheri-Ghatkopar corridor.


The BMC’s water department was under immense pressure over the last two weeks, owing to deliberations over implementing a water cut in the city. The department officials, however, were quick to offer a jibe or two. When asked about the increasing water contamination in the city, a senior official from the department remarked, “There is no water left in the city, how will it get contaminated?”


Playing on the perennial discord between the executive and the deliberative, a senior BMC official had an interesting theory about announcing any positive initiatives or developments in the civic body. Whenever releasing information on any new project, the official insists that the Mayor or any other corporator of the BMC’s ‘deliberative wing’ be quoted first.

He says the idea behind this is simple: “Who’s idea the project is does not matter. Only if you involve the politicians will it be pushed forward. It does not matter if they don’t know much about the project. The head and mouth are in two different places. There will be a lacklustre attitude towards good projects if it does not become their programme. Besides, IAS officers are transferred from one government office to the next all the time, only the politicians will be able to see it through.”


The state-wide strike by nearly 12,000 medical officers has disrupted the medical services in the state since July 1. What has recently added to the pressure on the public health department is the indefinite hunger strike of two doctors, Dr Rajesh Gaikwad, president of MAGMO (Maharashtra Association for Gazetted Officers), and Dr Pramod Rakshamwar, state secretary general of MAGMO, at Azad Maidan.

However, a senior official from the health ministry said that when a notice under the MESMA (Maharashtra Essential Services and Maintenance) Act was sent to the doctors protesting at Azad Maidan on Wednesday night, the clerk returned only to inform the department that he found not anybody on protest or hunger strike there. “We think they rushed to their homes after rains lashed the city. So much for their hunger strike,” the official said.


A Senior state police officer of the rank of Deputy Commissioner has been tearing his hair out over a protracted promotion. After dragging the state government to the Bombay High Court and getting a verdict in his favour last year, the officer is only now hopeful of a promotion within a month. A recent meeting with Home Minister R R Patil, however, indicated that he would not completely have his way.

When the officer pointed out that there are currently three posts of the rank of Additional Commissioner vacant in Mumbai, Patil did not seem keen to allot the officer any of the posts. The officer, who battled in court for over a year, may be posted to a less coveted job in another police commissionerate later this month.

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