A group of 25-30 BJP members allegedly slapped assistant municipal commissioner of R-North and R-Central wards Santoshkumar Dhonde Tuesday afternoon in the presence of three party corporators and deputy mayor Mohan Mithbaonkar. The BJP corporators present were R-North ward committee chairman Manisha Chaudharim,Bina Doshi and Pravin Shah.
Dhonde said the incident took place after a ward committee meeting in R-Central ward at Kora Kendra. On the request of the deputy mayor and BJP corporators I went to visit the area where a man had been fasting to protest delay in resurfacing of a road dug up by utility service providers. I was ready to commit in writing the work will be done in seven days, he said.
The ward officer was about to leave the site when 25-30 supporters of BJP MLA Gopal Shetty,including Jagdish Patel,approached him. I assured them I will do the work but he (Patel) kept abusing me and BMC. I turned away as I did not want to make a scene but suddenly I was slapped, said Dhonde.
The officer has lodged a complaint at Borivali police station.
A civic official accompanying Dhonde said it was more disturbing that no one came to the aid of the stunned ward officer.
This took place in front of three BJP corporators and the deputy mayor but no one said or did anything, he said.
Mithbaonkar claimed none of the BJP corporators were around when the incident took place. We were convincing the protesting citizen to go home. Jagdish Patel was with us. I do not know if anyone from BJP was present. It is an unfortunate incident and we in the party are sorry for what happened to the ward officer, he said.
BMC commissioner Sitaram Kunte said an inquiry will be held.