Reporter Rakesh Panigrahi (left) and Senior Inspector Avinash Sawant

NINETY days have passed but no action has been taken by the Mumbai police authorities against Senior Inspector Avinash Sawant of the Dindoshi police station. The mannerless Avinash Sawant abused and insulted young reporter Rakesh Panigrahi, a newcomer to the profession, of the news portal ABI (Akela Bureau of Investigation).

On January 3, 2017 Rakesh Panigrahi complained to Commissioner of Police Datta Padsalgikar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Kiran Chavan and also the Maharashtra Human Rights Commission (MHRC), demanding action against Avinash Sawant. Divisional ACP also recorded the statement of Panigrahi on January 18, 2017 but no action has been taken yet against Avinash Sawant.

The 21-year-old Rakesh Narayan Panigrahi is a resident of Antop Hill and final year student of BMM course. On December 26, 2016, he was on his first assignment at the Dindoshi police station to learn how to report a firing incident.

On December 25, 2016, there was a firing incident reported in a tabela at Nariyalwadi, Malad (East). Panigrahi visited Dindoshi police station late in the evening to collect authentic information but no official entertained him. Then, on December 27, 2016, around 1.40pm, Panigrahi again visited the Dindoshi police station. He was informed that Senior Inspector Avinash Sawant was not available at the police station as he had gone for lunch and might be back only around 4pm. Panigrahi had no other work in Malad area and he decided to wait for Avinash Sawant. He was shocked to see that Avinash Sawant was present at the police station. Around 3pm he came outside his cabin. Panigrahi tried to speak to him.

Without seeing what Panigrahi wanted, he said, “THAAMB REY,” and left the police station sitting in a car. Around 4.10pm Avinash Sawant returned to the police station. Panigrahi again tried to speak to him. He asked him, ‘KYA HUA?’ Panigrahi said to him, “Sir Namaskar, I am reporter Rakesh Panigrahi from ABI. I want to talk to you.” He noticed and asked a constable standing nearby him. “KAY REY. BAGH KAY PAHIJE YALA. SAKAL PASUN PATHI LAGLAY MAJHYA.” Panigrahi said to Sawant, “Sir WO TABELE ME JO FIRING HUI HAI USKE BAARE ME INFORMATION CHAHIYE.

What happened next shocked Panigrahi. As Sawant heard the word TABELA, he turned to Panigrahi and shouted, “BHAAG YAHAAN SE, BHAAG.” He ordered a constable to remove him from the police station immediately, saying, “HEY BAHER KADHA YALA.” The constable said to Panigrahi, “Sir PLEASE TUMHI JAWA, NAHI TAR AMHI DHAKKE MARUN KADHEL, TAR AAMHALA CHANGLE NAY WATNAR.” Avinash Sawant again ordered constable saying, “KAY BOLTOY RE TYACHASHI, BAHER KADH TYALA.”

Panigrahi is a newcomer to journalism. He was learning reporting. That day was his first assignment. He was shocked. He failed to understand why Avinash Sawant misbehaved with him. He felt much insulted. He started weeping in the police station.

Panigrahi narrated the whole incident to ABI editor ‘Akela’, who suggested Panigrahi complain to the Zonal DCP against Avinash Sawant. As Panigrahi did not know who the DCP was, he again went to the police station to know how to go to the DCP’s office. He tried to ask a constable the DCP’s name and address. The constable who had interacted with him earlier saw Panigrahi there again and shouted, “HEY TULA MANA KELE HOTA NA SAHEB NE, PARAT KA AALA. ANI MALA NAAM KASALA VICHARTOY. MI KAY KELE. IKDE YEOON DADAGIRI KARTOY KA. JA YAHAN SE. BHAAG.”

Panigrahi ran away from the police station. He met zonal DCP Kiran Chavan, who assured Panigrahi he would take disciplinary action against Avinash Sawant and asked for a complaint in writing.

Ninety days have passed but no action has been taken against Avinash Sawant. On March 23, 2017 Panigrahi filed an RTI application to know what action had been taken on Avinash Sawant.

“We will file a suit against Avinash Sawant as well as Datta Padsalgikar in the Bombay High Court soon as they failed to take any action,” said Akela.

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