MUMBAI: A week after a Government Railway Police (GRP) constable overslept and skipped escorting duty in a local where a nurse was molested, another constable “dropped” his rifle on the tracks and hasn’t found it since! Constable Sambhaji Hatkar, attached to the Kurla GRP outpost was suspended for negligence after he reportedly lost his rifle while on night duty in the ladies’ coach of a Thane local.
A massive search operation was conducted on Saturday night and through Sunday between Nahur and Mulund stations where Hatkar’s rifle went missing.
On Saturday night, Hatkar (29) and a colleague went to the Kurla GRP’s armoury and collected a .303 rifle. The duo then went to Dadar station where they boarded separate compartments of the local. “Hatkar was posted in the second-class 24-hour ladies’ coach. He was standing on the footboard and reportedly placed the rifle in a corner. He gripped it with his left hand and held the vertical rod with the other. He claims around 10.15 pm, between Nahur and Mulund stations, the rifle fell onto the tracks. The train also passed a few nullahs and he isn’t sure if the rifle fell into any of them,” said a senior official.
The rifle was unloaded and Hatkar had placed 10 rounds in his pocket. He got off at Mulund station and informed the Kurla GRP outpost about the loss of his rifle. Armed with a torch, he trekked back till Nahur on the tracks, looking for the rifle. Later, others from the Kurla GRP outpost joined him. The search continued on Sunday, with different groups of policemen hunting for the rifle, but in vain.
Senior GRP officials said Hatkar’s version would be cross-checked with his cellphone records and CCTV footage from Mulund station. “Hatkar returned the rounds to the armoury. We are questioning residents of areas adjoining the tracks.
The rifle could be stuck inside a nullah or picked up by a passerby,” said senior inspector Shivaji Dhumal. The GRP is also probing if Hatkar could have lost the rifle somewhere else.
Hatkar, who joined the GRP in the sports category, won several medals and competes at state level, his seniors said.