No FIR Lodged A Week After Assault In Pen

Navi Mumbai:

An elected representative of Bharatiya Janata Party allegedly beat up a woman and her family members at a highway eatery on Mumbai-Goa highway recently. Sanjay Bhopi, a corporator of the Panvel City Municipal Corporation, was filmed while beating up the woman, her husband and her son. The woman, whose family runs a modest eatery, Giroba Snack Corner, in Pen in Raigad district, has alleged that an altercation took place when the corporator and his men were urinating on the premises of the eatery. Though the woman approached the police, no criminal offence was lodged against Bhopi. The police only accepted a complaint letter.

The woman, Gita Patil, said that Bhopi—who is from Khanda Colony in Navi Mumbaiand the others disembarked from a private bus around 8.30 pm on Sunday and made a beeline near the eatery to urinate in open air. Gita and her husband, Mangesh, objected to this. “Bhopi and the others assaulted my wife before targeting me,” said Mangesh. “They then threatened me that they would come back to settle the score.”

The private bus had taken a brief halt at the request of some of the passengers, include Bhopi, who wanted to answer nature’s call. The corporator and 25 others were travelling from Dapoli to Panvel.

True to their word, Bhopi and some of his men returned to the spot on Monday afternoon. “Eight of them showed up around 12.30 pm and they started assaulting me, my wife and our son too,” said Mangesh. “They grabbed Gita by her hair and threatened to kill my son with a boulder. My son fled from the spot.” A relative, who was in the area, shot a video of the goings-on on his phone.

Mangesh also alleged that the men decamped with Rs 1.5 lakh from the cash counter. He said the money was meant as payment for some construction work. “We went to Pen police station, but they did not register an FIR. Later, they just took an application. We have complained about this to the DGP [state police chief].”

Bhopi told TOI that the fracas broke out as the woman and her family objected [to their urinating]. Asked about the assault on the woman and the others and the cash that was taken away, he did not comment.

Inspector of Pen police station, Dhanaji Kshirsagar, said he was not aware of the assault case. “The complainants have not approached me. Now that I know about it, I will look into the matter tomorrow,” Kshirsagar told TOI on Sunday.

Mangesh claimed that he had met a woman constable whom he identified only as ‘Gharat’ and a male cop whose name he did not know. “They kept shooing us and refused to lodge the FIR,” said Mangesh.

A local activist alleged that the “police have given a safe haven to some goons” from Pen who had joined the corporator in the assault. The activist asked not to be named as he himself has been receiving threats.

Additional superintendent of police for Raigad Sachin Gunjal promised action.