[Published in PUCL Bulletin, august 2004]
traffic police inspector shoots a jeep driver for not paying timely hafta
By Pushkar Raj, General secretary, Pucl-Delhi
A Delhi police assistant sub inspector shot and
wounded a mini-passenger jeep driver from his licensed revolver on July
9, 2004 at Nagloi, a West Delhi colony.
PUCL-Delhi General Secretary conducted a fact finding
report on the incident. The same is presented below.
background of the incident
The area where the incident took place is thickly populated. It lies on
the western edge of Delhi bordering Haryana, a neighboring state. Nagloi
was once a village but now the village is untraceable in the mesh of unauthorized
colonies that have surrounded it stretching towards the border of Haryana
leading to Bahadur Garh, a town in the neighboring Haryana state. A large
number of people commute daily to work in Delhi from Bahdur Garh and neighboring
towns of Haryana. These people depend for transport on the operation of
about 45 vehicles that include jeeps (with a capacity of about 15 passengers),
Rural Transport Vehicles (RTV) and others. Some of these vehicles have
Haryana numbers other have Delhi numbers. Most of them have no license
to carry the passengers. But that does not matter for them. If law is
observed in letter and spirit none of these vehicles should be allowed
to cross the border over to Delhi. But they do. Day in and day out for
allegedly a sum of Rs. 2500 per month to the traffic police inspector
in charge of the area, popularly known as ZO (zonal officer). It seems
to be an open secret; as apparent and normal as morning sun.
Place: Near Nangloi Chowk, a busy commercial junction of West Delhi
Time: 9:35 am Driver of Jeep no. HR 26 G 7339, Surender, aged 23 tall
and healthy had just come to Nagloi Chowk with his passengers from Bahadur
Garh who had alighted. He was waiting for passengers for backward journey.
He was seated at derivers seat, his helper was calling for passengers.
Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) Anup Singh arrived on the scene. He parked
his motor cycle in front of the jeep, asked for his hafta of Rs. 2500,
and argued with the driver. Abuses from the police personnel followed.
A scuffle ensued, driver remaining on the seat. Suddenly a shot is heard
and the driver collapsed on the steering. People gathered and phoned the
police control room. It is later found that the ASI Anup shot the driver
with his service weapon. The bullet entered the body of the driver just
under the rib cage. He is sent to the Sanjay Gandhi Hospital MangolPuri;
ASI to the local police station which is barely 300 meters away from the
spot of the incident.
PUCL could not meet the ASI as he had been in judicial custody since the
day of the incident. However PUCL was given access to FIR by the local
police station. As per the FIR no. 576/04 dated 9 July 04 registered with
the Nagloi police station the following constitutes the version of ASI
`when I reached Nagloi Chowk I saw jeep with a Haryana number HR 26 G
7339 whose driver was calling for passengers. It is an offence under the
motor vehicle act. When I placed my motor cycle in front of the jeep then
the driver of the jeep started his jeep to scare me away. I did not remove
my motorcycle from in front of the jeep. On this he reversed the jeep
and began driving the jeep towards Najafgarh. On this I followed him.
Then he hit me due to which hoot and light of my motorcycle got pressed
and I fell down from the Motor Cycle. After this again he started driving
the jeep in reverse direction. At this I thought that by such driving
of the jeep some innocent person might be killed and for the purpose of
stopping the jeep I pulled out my service revolver and to stop the driver
I hanged on to the jeep and told the driver to stop the jeep otherwise
someone might get killed or I shall come under the wheels of the jeep.
But he did not stop the jeep and I kept getting dragged with the jeep.
With the one hand I was hanging to the jeep and in the other I had the
pistol. During this a bullet got shot from my revolver.’
When PUCL met the driver Surender in Sanjay Gandhi Hospital MangolPuri
he still seemed under shock and concerned about his post release livelihood
status. He was recouping from the wound of the bullet that was dislodged
from his stomach. He said that he is a daily basis employed driver who
gets Rs. 100 from the owner of the jeep in the evening. If there is a
challan the owner cuts the money for the day. Father of two small kids
he was being attended by his aged father who works as a watchman at the
house of the congress MP Naveen Jindal at Panjabi Bagh, Delhi.
Surender told PUCL that as he was sitting on his driver’s seat
ASI Anup Singh approached him and asked for the monthly of Rs 2500. According
to surrender he told him that he should wait for a day or two as he was
not able to ply the vehicle for preceding three four days. At this he
abused him and threatened to take the vehicle under his custody. At this
he got scared as vehicle going under police custody means challan (fine)
ranging from Rs. 3000 to Rs. 15000. The argument further ensured and the
inspector forcefully tried to snatch the key of the vehicle. As he was
still sitting on his seat the inspector started beating him. In order
to get rid of him he reversed his jeep (ASI’s motor cycle was standing
in front of the jeep) and this way tried to extricate from the ASI. Suddenly
he found himself shot and collapsed on the wheels.
- PUCL interviewed a few shopkeepers who were witness to the incident.
Some refused to elaborate on the matter while others admitted that the
firing on the part of the ASI was unprovoked. It gives credence to the
drivers version that he started the jeep in order to take himself away
from the police personnel who was trying to snatch keys of his vehicle.
Moreover he could not have driven the jeep speedily in the reverse direction
as there is jostling traffic on the road especially during the peak
hours of morning and evening.
- The motor cycle of the ASI had a very little damage. The hoot of
the motor cycle got pressed. He also was not injured either. He hardly
had a bruise. It is apparent that his argument that he opened fire in
self defence holds little water.
- Thus firing on the part of police officer was absolutely unwarranted.
Since it is alleged that all jeep drivers pay Rs. 2500 per month to
the zonal officer (the concerned ASI), the officer seemed to be defending
his monthly territory of graft of Rs. 1 lak 12 thousand by such high
handedness tactic and scare the other jeep drivers to fall in line for
timely payment of the convenience money.
- The incident also points to the confidence on the part of the police
officer that he could get away with the shooting citing the alibi of
self defence. This is borne out from the fact that initially the Nagloi
police had booked the driver Surender under section 307 of IPC that
is, attempt to murder. It was later changed after the objections were
raised and the station house officer was sent to the lines by the police
- The police commissioner must order an inquiry as to why unlicensed
vehicles enter the border without valid permit. He must fix the responsibility
for the same. This exercise must be carried out not only on this border
point but on the other border points that link Delhi with the neighboring
- There should be a proper inquiry into the allegation of bribe being
given to traffic police personnel as systematic and apparent as monthly
salary from the government of India. If the vendor on street with little
knowledge of the world knows about it one doubts if the high echelon
of police department are not aware of it.
- The fact that the police officer has been booked under section 307
of IPC makes it clear that the driver surrender is a victim of the highhanded
criminality of the police personnel concerned. The police department
must own up the act of his rash act. As the victim is a daily bread
earner with a family of four and aged parents, he must be paid a compensation
by the police department for the physical injury and mental agony consequent
to the incident.