Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mumbai Police. The best yet!

Sorry folks! The last few days have been most uninspiring. Humdrum, banal news, absolutely nothing happening anywhere to stimulate my mind. There is just so much of the Rahul Gandhi, RaGa, Pappu nonsense you can take. Similarly, my mind had turned into mush listening to the fact that Narendra Modi polarises opinions. Sick my friends, absolutely sick. And then the IPL! If your mind has not been destroyed by the RaGa NaMo nonsense this will do the job. Between 4 to 8 hours, depending on the schedule, of absolute soul destroying stuff on television.

I was reaching the end of my tether, getting truly fed up, looking at a half way sensible place to escape to when, out of the blue, I read the headlines on this morning’s newspaper.

“Cop lucky to survive after being stranded in office lift for 36 hours

This was an amazing story on so many levels. I read every word. I then read the story in the Hindustan Times. I was riveted. This brought me back to reality, which is India. For those who do not know what I am going on about, I suggest you first read the article.

The good Police Inspector Suresh Masaji Sonawane works in the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police. The Mumbai Police is second only to Scotland Yard, I am sure you must have heard or read this. The Crime Branch is a division of the Mumbai Police that is at the very cutting edge, the sharp end, and the finest and best officer’s man this division. First problem is that our protagonist Suresh Masaji Sonawane was, unfortunately, at the wrong end of another cutting edge, a neurosurgeons scalpel. Sonawane had undergone brain surgery and was consequently, shall we say, damaged. This happened in 2008, 5 years ago. Remember Sonawane is working in the Crime Branch. His wife is quoted that post surgery the valiant Suresh Masaji Sonawane prefers low profile postings. So working in the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police which, as I have said is second only to the Scotland Yard, is a piece of cake, a low profile stress free posting. Who the hell cares, the crime has already been committed. Have you not been told not to cry over spilt milk?

It was Saturday afternoon and the elevator in the building where Sonawane worked had just been repaired, and, as is our wont in India, to save costs probably or because we are simply nut cases, the elevator was shut down. Problem was that our friend Suresh Masaji Sonawane was inside the elevator when it was shut down. Permit me to digress. If an elevator is not going to be used since the building is uninhabited why shut it down? It is not going to be used anyway? But as I have said, in India we are all nutcases. Presumably use of electrical power and wear and tear of the elevator will be prevented if it is shut down when it is not being used anyway.

When our good Suresh Masaji Sonawane did not reach home on Saturday afternoon his wife lodged a complaint with the local police station reporting a missing person, being her husband. The newspaper report states with a hint of what can only be described as wry humour, that Suresh Masaji Sonawane worked in the Mumbai police missing persons bureau that traces, you guessed it, missing persons. When Mrs. Sonawane went to his office to locate him at about 8 pm on Saturday, the newspaper reports that “by then all the policemen had left and the office was locked.

I do hope that you will continue to read and have not collapsed with laughter in a heap on the floor. Please continue to pay attention. This gets better. Why do you think this report get me blogging again!

Obviously, the Crime Branch and the Missing Persons bureau do not work on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Remember this is a low profile posting. They don’t need to work on Saturday Sunday. We do need our rest. So while the cops are resting, and the lift is switched off and the building is uninhabited our good friend Suresh Masaji Sonawane is inside an elevator car with no light no air and certainly no toilet. No chai paani either, no pun intended.

Monday morning comes along and the elevator is restarted and lo and behold a much weakened Suresh Masaji Sonawane walks out of the elevator. Mrs. Sonawane is notified and she whisks him away. The cops are much relieved as no doubt Mrs Sonawane is.

Into this already hilarious comedy of errors, stage left steps Senior Inspector P. Juikar who is quoted as saying "Soon after he was found, his wife took him to a hospital in Thane. We have asked Sonawane to come to the police station on Tuesday so that we can investigate how the incident occurred. The outcome could have been worse," Folks, I am a lawyer not a Senior Inspector in the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police. If the honourable Suresh Masaji Sonawane was locked inside the elevator, for ***ks sake how would he know what happened outside the elevator. I think Senior Inspector P Juikar has a bright future; he does have some startling investigative skills.

If this amazing story has not wiped you out by now, here is the cleverest part. This is why the Mumbai Police are second only to the Scotland Yard. A senior crime branch officer, the report goes on to say,  who had been monitoring the search operations since Saturday has been quoted “We are wondering how Sonawane spend two nights without light and air in the building which stinks so strongly of fish.” "It is difficult to bear the smell for even half an hour.” Folks, the crime branch office in the building was closed. Mrs Sonawane could not get in. Lifts were shut down. Remember? What the heck were you Senior Inspector P Juikar monitoring from Saturday? And from where? Home?

I have not made up any of this. All that I have written is from the newspaper report.

I feel so safe in Mumbai. I am so confident that anyone I know goes missing, preferably on a Monday or Tuesday, he will be traced in no time. Going missing on the weekend or close to it is a bad idea.

There is so much to write on this but I shall not.

1 comment:

  1. Around 10 am Tuesday, Crime Branch Inspector Suresh Sonawane, 46, arrived at the MRA Marg Police Station near Crawford Market to get his statement recorded. He was to complete the task the previous day, but was barely able to walk, after spending 42 hours in a lift in his office building.

    “I realised the electrician had switched off the power supply, and it being the second Saturday of the month, many offices were shut,” he said in his statement. Sonawane, who does not carry a mobile phone on doctors’ advice after he underwent a neurosurgery, tried calling out for help, and then prepared himself for a long wait, he told police.

    “I realised it would be a very long wait, and was worried about my family. A few minutes later, the light and the fan went off, and I started preparing myself for the worst,” he said in his statement.

    Sonawane said he managed very little sleep on Saturday and Sunday, and resorted to meditation to ensure he remained conscious.

    His ordeal ended at 8.30 am Monday, when the building attendants turned on the power supply. His immediate reaction was to call his family, following which he went to the police station, but wasn’t able to record his statement.

    Sonawane reported to work on Tuesday, even as police summoned the supervisor of Iscon Elevators, who maintain the lift in the building. Preliminary inquiry showed that Iscon Elevators had scheduled maintenance work on the day Sonawane was trapped as most offices would be shut, and the maintenance staff claimed to have checked the lifts before shutting off the power supply.

    Additional Commissioner of Police Krushna Prasad said those responsible for the cop’s ordeal punished. “The statement of the lift company supervisor will make it clear as to why the lift was not checked before the power supply was switched off,” he said.

    A senior engineer from BMC’s Maintenance Department said the standard procedure ahead of the maintenance work of such kind is to bring the lift to the ground floor before shutting down power supply. “If the lift was struck between the third and the fourth floors, it is obvious that the building maintenance staff were not aware of the rules,” he said.