The auto driver had failed to pay a bribe of Rs 20,000 for a crime he never committed allege family members…

BeyondHeadlines Special Correspondent

PUNE: Rickshaw Panchayat, the largest  auto rickshaw union in Pune,  has accused the Pune Police of forcing an auto-rickshaw driver commit suicide by demanding a bribe of Rs 20,000. Ashok Rathod, 55, an auto rickshaw driver from Loni Kalbhor allegedly committed suicide on Feb 20. His family members alleged that two police constables had demanded a bribe of Rs 20,000 and harassed him no end forcing Rathod to take the extreme step.

Shyam Rathod

Shyam Rathod

With tears rolling down his eyes, Rathod’s son, Shyam (31), said, “My father told me that he required  Rs 20 ,000  saying that he had to pay bribe  to the police men and settle the matter outside the court. My father was innocent and police blamed him with a fake case of robbing a  woman passenger’s luggage on the day when my father did not even go to the auto rickshaw stand due to illness,” he said.

Rickshaw Panchayat members alleged that on Feb 15, an unidentified women came during the wee hours at Matoshri Ramabai Ambedkar Rickshaw stand at Bund Garden road. The women came again the following night and and started shouting that Rathod has robbed her luggage and went on to lodge a complaint with the Shivajinagar Police station.

Shyam further said, “My father told the local police officials at Loni Kalbhor about the truth but  they refused to take cognizance of his complaint and cited jurisdiction issue. Following this we went to  to  Shivajinagar police station on February 19,  the inspector-in-charge asked us to come next day, ” he said.

Ashok RathodRickshaw Panchayat convener Nitin Pawar said, “When I came to know about this I went to the Shivajinagar police station  and asked them to file First Investigation report (FIR)  but they refused. We had complained that one constable named Bhosale had come at the rickshaw stand and demanded to Rs 20,000.  Rathod who was a poor guy was unable to fulfill his demand and he was forced to commit suicide,” he said.

ACP Atmacharan Shinde

ACP Atmacharan Shinde

Pawar further said, “It took nearly a month for us to come to know the actual reason behind Rathod’s suicide. I have filed an FIR at Bund Farden police station and asked the Police to give justice to his family by taking the women into police custody immediately and suspend the police constables who were involved in this. If police fails to take any action by the end of this month then we will start our agitation against the police,” Pawar warned.

Taking their stand Assistant Commissioner (Cantonment Division) Atmacharan Shinde said, “An inquiry has been instituted against two policemen in connection with the allegations made. If they are found guilty, suitable legal action would be taken against them.”


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