MUMBAI: Five months after he was assaulted by five legislators in the Maharashtra assembly, the state government on Friday transferred traffic sub-inspector Sachin Suryavanshi to a police training centre in Sangli, ostensibly on his request. The transfer, which has raised eyebrows in the police force, comes close on the heels of the assembly’s unanimous decision to revoke the suspension of the MLAs involved in the March 19 attack.
State director general of police Sanjeev Dayal told TOI that Suryavanshi was not transferred by the department. “He made a request after meeting me for my opinion to work there (in Sangli),” Dayal said.
However, a senior official pointed out that policemen up to the level of senior inspector are rarely transferred outside the Mumbai, Thane and Vashi belt.
The rank and file of the police and traffic force, in general, has reacted cautiously to the transfer. A senior IPS officer said since the order has come out of turn from the DG’s office, it does raise suspicion. There was no clear understanding, though, on what kind of message it would send to the force and whether it would affect the morale of the personnel. “It depends on how you want to look at it. Whatever damage was to be done to the psyche of the constabulary and the lower order was done the day he was thrashed in the assembly. The apathy of the political class was even more evident the day they revoked the suspension of the MLAs,” a senior police officer said.
Sources said Suryavanshi had submitted the application for transfer to the DGP a fortnight ago. In his application, he had reportedly wished to be shifted to the Sangli training centre, which is closer to his family. Suryavanshi’s parents live in Sangli.
“While there is nothing peculiar about this transfer, there is no denying that events that have transpired over the past few months had stressed him out. He has been living alone here and perhaps wanted to be closer to his family for a while,” said a senior officer from the traffic department.
Suryavanshi has resumed duty and his colleagues confirmed that he has been in “sound mental and physical health”. “He carried on with his duties normally as he would before the incident. We had supported him with his medical and other bills, so there is no possibility that his morale was low,” said a traffic police officer.
Investigations into the assault case have come to a standstill as the assembly has refused to hand over the video footage to the Mumbai crime branch. “With that, it would have been an open and shut case. But as of now, we are staring at nothing,” said a crime branch officer.
A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Bombay high court recently demanding the reasons for withholding the assault footage from the police.