Now, cops to probe 'drug abuse' on FTII campus
Security personnel outside the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) in Pune on Thursday. (PTI Photo)
PUNE: The city police have launched a probe into the alleged drug abuse by some students of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII).

Joint commissioner of police Sunil Ramanand told TOI, “A team of police officials visited the FTII on Thursday to investigate a case registered against some students with the Deccan Gymkhana police station on Wednesday night. During questioning, staffers at the institute orally complained to us about drug abuse by some students for quite some time now.”

On the progress in the case against the students, Ramanand said, “We are in the process of recording the statements of the students named in the complaint. We will then take a call on whether to arrest them or not and whether to file a chargesheet against them on completion of our investigations.”

On Wednesday night, FTII community station radio manager Sanjay Chandekar lodged a complaint against ten students of the institute, accusing them of harassment and intimidation. The police booked the students under various sections of the IPC, including unlawful assembly, wrongful restraint and criminal intimidation.

In his complaint, Chandekar said that the FTII students consume liquor and use narcotic substances like “charas, marijuana and bhang” on the premises. “The students have also damaged the CCTV cameras so that no one should come to know about their illegal activities. Some students, in a fit of anger, had gheraoed me after I had revealed their illegal activities during a press conference on July 20. The next day, they threatened me with dire consequences if I said anything about them in public,” he alleged.

Senior inspector Pravin Chougule of the Deccan Gymkhana police station said, “As of now, we are investigating Chandekar’s complaint against the ten students. We will record his detailed statement to get more information about the alleged drug abuse.”

In a statement issued later in the day, the FTII students said, “The complaint against us comes as a shock because the staffer (Chandekar) had himself clarified during a press conference that he was not threatened by the students. Besides, we also have an audio-visual recording of the said incident which clearly shows that he was not harassed. We wonder how a complaint from a staffer turned into a first information report (FIR) overnight without any internal inquiry by the FTII administration.”

The students also wrote to the FTII director saying that the FIR against them was “false” and “totally baseless”. “We demand a free and fair inquiry into the incident. The students’ association does not bear any malice against Chandekar. We want the administration and the police to take full responsibility for the health and physical security of Chandekar,” their letter said.

Neither the director nor students offered to comment on the allegations of drug abuse.

The students said they were worried why no action was taken against miscreants who vandalized the art installation at the gate of the institute four days back. “Most of us are staying away from home and family. We feel genuinely threatened by such violent acts and by the presence of armed policemen in and around the campus,” the statement issued to the media said.

FTII issues notice to 13 students to vacate hostel

Pune: The FTII administration on Thursday issued notices to 13 students who have allegedly been overstaying at the hostels even after completion of their courses.

“The FTII hostel rules forbid students from overstaying except when permission is taken from the registrar or the director. These 13 students have to vacate their rooms with immediate effect,” FTII director Prashant Pathrabe said.

On Wednesday, the administration had said 44 students would be issued notices while sources in the I&B ministry had earlier said there were 40 such students overstaying at the institute.

A statement issued by the FTII students’ association said there were only 11 students overstaying. “Most of them have stopped staying on the campus and are professionally engaged in their respective places. They are only required to hand over the keys of their rooms,” the statement read.

(With inputs from Rupali Shukla and Mihir Tanksale)