A day after a 45-year-old fruit vendor died of a heart attack while trying to escape from a chase by a team of police men that raided way-side hawkers in suburban Vakola locality, controversial hockey stick-wielding police officer Vasant Dhoble was transferred by the Maharashtra government from his post.
Taking serious cognizance of the instant protests by street hawkers over the “high-handed” manner in which a team of policemen led by Dhoble carried out the raid at Vakola in north Mumbai, India, State Home Minister R R Patil on Saturday ordered the transfer of the controversial police officer.
Patil also instituted an inquiry by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) into the circumstances leading to the death of fruit vendor Madan Jaiswal.
A resident of Gaondevi area of eastern part of Santa Cruz, Jaiswal had been making a living for the last two decades, vending fruits outside a hotel near the local railway station. As is normal the practice, Jaiswal — along with his 18-year-old son Sriram — were selling fruits at their make-shift way-side stall on Friday evening, when they heard that the police men were on their way to demolish the hawking stalls in the area.
Seeing Dhoble-led team of policemen arrive on the scene, Jaiswal, his son Sriram and other hawkers began to flee the scene in panic. Dhoble reportedly chased down Jaiwal and kicked him and his son with sticks.
Jaiswal, who collapsed was rushed to nearby V N Desai Hospital where he died of heart attack minutes later.
Known for controversies, Dhoble — who in his earlier capacity as the chief of the social service branch of the Mumbai police had proved to be a nightmare for the city’s late-night party-goers — had earlier in September last year been transferred as Assistant Commissioner of police (ACP) for Vakola.
Accused of using brute force to implement the outdated Prohibition Act in the city, Dhoble would in his earlier assignment barge into late night bars and pubs and allegedly harass people visiting these joints.
Despite having come under severe flak from various quarters, Dhoble had ruled the roost for over six months. A protégé of former police commissioner Arup Patnaik, Dhoble was moved out of the post within a fortnight after Satya Pal Singh took over the new police chief of Mumbai during the end of August last year.
Following the latest transfer, Dhoble has not yet been given a fresh posting, and some think he should be advised to retire. [GN]