Mumbai: Eight persons abused and manhandled traffic police who were conducting a drive against drink-driving in Mulund on Sunday. This came less than a month after a woman traffic cop was assaulted by a Shiv Sena functionary, Shashikant Kalgude, in Thane.
The eight, including a noted criminal, who tried to prevent the police from conducting an alcohol test at Nirmal Lifestyle, were arrested by the Mulund police.
Kunal Shelar, Mayur Shinde, Sunil Kadam, Akshay Kadam, Sunder Bhaghel, Tushar Madia, Jayesh Tawade and driver Pravin Chavan have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for preventing a government servant from discharging his duty, assault and abuse.
When sub-inspector Premnath Thotam (58) stopped their Innova, the driver sped away towards Bhandup village. Thotam and another police official overtook the SUV after a half kilometre chase. “Chavan and Shelar were taken to the Sonapur traffic office, when seven persons barged in, and started arguing with and abusing the cops,” Rajaram Wanmane, senior inspector, Mulund police station. The police said they tried to exert pressure to free Chavan and claimed the police had stolen cash from the SUV.
“Shinde is a noted criminal who has a record of assault and attempt to murder cases against him. We have booked all as it should a lesson for people who try to take the law into their own hands and have no respect for the police,” said DCP Vinay Rathod.
48 caught daily during checks
Mumbai: The traffic police catch an average of 48 motorists for drink-driving on city roads daily. The January 2014-February 2016 data TOI sought from the traffic police headquarters showed 37,756 motorists were booked for drink-driving during surprise checks at important spots.
The report pointed that in the first two months of 2016 cops caught almost 40% drunk drivers compared with the total of 17,813 caught in the whole of 2015. Experts felt more stringent action was needed against drunk drivers who do not fear the law.
The traffic cops booked 705 motorists who drove under the influence of alcohol on December 31, 2015, when Mumbaikars were busy welcoming 2016. A senior traffic police officer said everyone caught for drink-driving is charged a minimum fine of Rs2,000 as a deposit, and the final amount is decided by the magistrate. “The fines collected only on December 31 night for drink-driving across the city was around Rs 14 lakh,” said the officer.
The Bombay high court on January 7 ordered the central and state governments to adopt a “zero tolerance” policy when it came to drink-driving. The HC stressed that mere presence of alcohol in the driver’s blood should be sufficient to bar an individual from driving. “Immediate suspension of licence will follow the offence of drink-driving. It will facilitate the police the edge and go a long way ensuring safety on roads,” the court judgement said.
Former IPS officer S P S Yadav said those driving while drunk think they will get away due to a loophole in the system or due to meagre fines. “They must be checked at the starting point of their journey, that is in the vicinity of parking lots of bars,” said Yadav.