Sunday, December 27, 2009


Beat police ask a techie to shell out Rs 100 for walking back home late in the night.When he says he does not have the cash, he is made to withdraw money from an ATM and hand it to them

When Mahatma Gandhi had expressed his wish of seeing India where women can safely walk alone at midnight, he had no inkling as to how crafty Bangalore police could get. Otherwise, he would have included men too in that category.
In a curious incident, a techie who was returning back home after watching a movie was forced by the night patrol cops to shell out Rs 100 ‘fine’ for walking at night. When he threw up his hands in despair stating he was not carrying money, the cops took him to the nearest ATM and made him withdraw the cash. This happened in Subramanyanagar police station limits in the early hours of Saturday.
“I was walking home after dropping my friend at her place at 2.30 am. I was getting out of the 3rd Cross which joins Rajkumar Road when two policemen stopped me. They asked me where I was going and why I was at that place,” said Balaji N Gupta, who works for a software company at Manyata Tech Park.
RS 300 OR RS 100
Balaji told them that he had gone to watch a film and was returning home after dropping his friend at her home in Gayatripuram.
“They asked me for my identity card and I handed them my PAN card, driving licence, my office identity card and my Symbiosis College distance studies card,” he said.
The policemen accepted the cards, but asked Balaji to come to the police station the next day and collect them after paying a fine of Rs 300. “I asked them if there was a rule to pay fine for walking on the road too. He said, ‘Why are you walking in a lonely lane, why can’t you walk on the main road?’ Now if my house in that lane, what can I do? But I didn’t want to argue with them,” Balaji said. The cops then offered him the option of paying Rs 100. “They told me they would let me go if I paid them Rs 100,” he said.
They told Balaji he would have to spend the night at the police station otherwise. “When I told them that I was out of cash, the policemen mocked me saying, ‘You call yourself a software engineer but you don’t have even Rs 100 with you.’ They asked me to accompany them to the police station. When I refused to do so, they took me to an ATM and asked me to draw Rs 100 and give it to them. To escape the hassle, I had to do as they asked me to,” Balaji said.
Balaji couldn’t get the names of the policemen as they were wearing sweaters. He said, “There were two policemen on a Cheetah bike. Both were wearing khakhi clothes: The one riding was dark and fat, and wearing a black jacket over his clothes. He also wore a helmet. The pillion rider was wearing a black sweater with a muffler. It was dark and I was nervous at that time. So, I couldn’t get the number on the bike either.”
When Bangalore Mirror spoke to the cops at the Subramanyanagar police, assistant sub-inspector Shivanna said this could be the handiwork of ‘fake police’. “Last month, some robbers posing as cops took away gold jewellery worth Rs 5 lakh from a person. I personally do not think that any policemen would go to the extent of asking for Rs 100 from someone who is just walking,” he said.
The sub-inspector, Suresh M R, said neither he nor any other officer would defend any cop who was part of this incident. “Balaji can come to the police station at 9.30 pm when the night beat police arrive and identify those who took money from him. This is an indefensible act by the cops and if they are really involved, action will be taken,” he said.
Suresh, however, had doubts about what really could have happened. “If Balaji and the cops face each other, the truth will come out. Maybe they had an argument and the cops were enraged. Let the truth come out,” he said.


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