I don’t want to be a pawn: Maval victim
► Tempo driver Navnath Pangare, shot in the leg, denies his statement given to cops on video in a Lonavala hospital that someone in a white car shot him. Says he has no idea who did
► If both sides of E-way were shut down, how did a car pass through?
► Pangare’s family has alleged that SP Karnik and a police inspector came to Pune hospital, urged them to avoid media, said all expenses would be ‘taken care of’
► Mediapersons claim that Karnik made them delete footage of the clash, say cops told them to take Pangare’s byte
Refuting the claims of the police about the circumstances in which he received his bullet injury, tempo driver Navnath Pangare said he has no idea who shot him. His police statement says occupants of a private white Indica or Indigo car fired at him. Pangare is undergoing treatment at a private hospital here. His family is alleging that SP Sandip Karnik and a police inspector approached them in Pune and told them all medical expenses would be met and to avoid the media.
Meanwhile, police claims about the death of Moreshwar Sathe — one of the three shot dead on Tuesday — have been challenged by Sathe’s friend who was present with him on the E-way. Vasant Garade told Pune Mirror that Sathe had been taken to a police van, but was released and was walking towards him and others when police shot him from behind in cold blood.
How did moreshwar sathe die?
Vasant Barku Garade, a close friend of deceased Sathe who was present at the site, said, “About four policemen nabbed him and took him to the van. They made him sit inside for a while. We saw him sitting in the police van. After five minutes, we saw him alighting from the van. He was walking towards us and policemen were standing with their guns near the van. As he was walking, a bullet pierced the nape of his neck and emerged from his mouth.”
Sathe, who was a tractor driver, owned a small piece of land, and had gone to the agitation site. Garade and other villagers who say they were witnesses claimed that Sathe was killed by cops encounter-style.
Karnik refuted the allegations saying police have not indulged in encounter tactics while quelling the farmers’ agitation on Tuesday. “Yes, it is true that police had attempted to detain him at the agitation site. He was caught and was made to sit in the police van parked nearby. But it not known when he left the police van. He left the van without knowledge of the policemen. Also, it is not known how he died of a bullet injury. He might have died by a police bullet, but it wasn’t an encounter.” Karnik said.
Who shot Navnath Pangare?
Pangare, a resident of Khed-Shivapur, was admitted to the general ward of a private hospital in Shivajinagar where he was operated for his bullet injury. However, on Wednesday night, a team of policemen led by Karnik allegedly went to the hospital and shifted Pangare to the ICU.
His father Vitthal told Pune Mirror that policemen restrained family members from speaking to mediapersons. When family members opposed Pangare’s shift to ICU citing high expenses, cops present there told them not to bother about ICU expenses. “We do not want ICU facilities but police have forced us to move to the ICU. We were told to say that Navnath has been discharged from the hospital. We do not know the reason behind such orders,” Vitthal said.
Pangare’s ‘statement’ was recorded by police on video at a Lonavala hospital where he was initially admitted. According to it, Pangare says “Indica-wala challa hota, ani tyatun golibar zhala” (A white Indica was passing by and there was firing from it).
However, on Thursday, Pangare denied having ever made such a complaint or given such a statement to the cops. Police said Pangare had lodged a private complaint registered with the Vadgaon Maval police station. “I just gave a statement to the police but I don’t know whose bullet it was. I don’t know who fired at me. I have not filed any complaint. I don’t want to be made a pawn in the game,” Pangare said.
|Police dragging Moreshwar Sathe away after trouble broke out on the E-way on Tuesday|
Karnik said Pangare’s tempo was heading towards Pune from Mumbai when it got caught in traffic on the Expressway. “Both the corridors — Mumbai and Pune — of the Expressway were blocked and Pangare’s tempo was standing on Pune corridor at Kamshet tunnel. Around five policemen were standing there. It was at around 1.30 pm when when an Indica or Indigo car passed through. Pangare said unidentified occupant/s of the car fired at him. The case was registered with Lonavla police and then transferred to Wadgaon Maval police station.”
He added: “We have not found spent cartridges from the site of the firing and we are yet to get ballistic reports of the bullet found in Pangare’s thigh. Police have obtained vital clues about the car and suspects will be tracked down. As per Pangare’s statement, we have registered the case against the car’s occupant/s.” What he didn’t spell oit was how a private car drove through when both E-way corridors were blocked.
Cops instructed media to delete some footage
The controversy surrounding the Pune Rural police’s role in the Maval firing is deepening. New revelations show that cops may have forced local cameramen to delete videos of the firing.
On Tuesday afternoon, local reporters landed at Baur, as the firing took place. They recorded the agitation, firing and stone pelting – but policemen soon routed them.
On condition of anonymity, one mediaperson told Mirror, “After the firing, we rushed to the truck and started recording videos of the police damaging the vehicle. Suddenly, one officer who was with the superintendent of police came and threatened us and ordered us to delete the videos. We ran to the SP and told him that some police were damaging vehicles, but he became angry with us. He said, ‘Do you know whose vehicles these are? You do not see anything’. Then, the SP wrote down our names and those of our publications and left.”
How Ajitdada acquired the wrath of Maval farmers
“The NCP had its own designs. Their modus operandi is to deny water to the local farmer and make his survival difficult. He will ultimately sell his land and migrate elsewhere. Of course, the political land mafia will do the rest — snatch the land,” said Keshav Wadekar, a local farmer.
Deepak Phalle, a farmer from Baur, gave vent to the collective fear of being dispossessed of their ancestral land and robbed of the Pavana dam waters, when he told Pune Mirror, “Ajit Pawar is our guardian minister, but he does not want to protect the interests of Maval farmers because they have not voted for the NCP.”
Phalle’s allegation is reflected in the project’s progess report. It was launched before the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in 2009, but the NCP adopted a go-slow approach during the elections fearing an adverse reaction from voters. It lost the Maval Lok Sabha seat to Shiv Sena’s Gajanan Babar, and then the Assembly segment to BJP’s Sanjay Bhegade. Work on the project was relaunched with full vigour in December 2009.
Farmer Santosh Dabhade from Dabhade Wasti said the pipeline was laid in such a way that land belonging to NCP supporters was spared, while those like him aligned with opposition parties like BJP had to give up their land. “JCBs were pressed into service to flatten our standing crop. When we opposed the action, police cases were registered against us,” Dabhade said.
The farmers said they were fighting for the last crumbs of land left with them. “In the past two decades we have lost land to the MIDC, then the Expressway followed by special economic zones. We hear the ring road project too is in the pipeline. We have lost thousand of acres for paltry or no compensation,” said Ajit Dabhade from Talegaon.
Rajabhau Chavan, a farmer who was injured in the lathicharge, said, “This is nothing but a political conspiracy to finish the Mavalas in Maval.” He warned that the Mavalas had withstood injustices for centures since Shivaji’s time. “Ajit Pawar may have forgotten, but we have fought enemies like the Mughals in the past,” he said.
Shiv Sena’s MP from Maval Gajanan Babar said, “We strictly condemn the barbaric action against the farmers. This is the fourth firing incident against innocents in the state. This is happened on the orders of guardian minister Ajit Pawar. The SP should be charged with murdering the people. This battle will continue. We will ensure that this project is not completed over the dead bodies of farmers.”
► NCP had its own designs — they deny water to the farmer, make his survival difficult. He ultimately sells off his land and migrates. Then the political land mafia do the rest
- Keshav Wadekar, a farmer from the area