ON THE PROWL: A Tiger jawan posted in Sonari on Tuesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Tata Motors’ employee and Agrico resident Subhas Mishra, bound for Sonari Rivers’ Meet to perform a relative’s shradh at Subernarekha ghat, had to make a quick trip on his bike to buy a towel for the ritual. Near Sonari thana, two policemen asked Mishra, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, for Rs 200
Policemen accosted helmet-less biker Govind Pramanik, crossing Sonari Airport from Kadma, and demanded “documents”. When he said he had them at home, they asked for Rs 500 to let him off. Govind haggled with the cops to bring the sum down to Rs 200
A city where residents love bikes and hate helmets does offer traffic police countless opportunities to mint money, Jamshedpur’s two-wheeler owners and men in uniform know well.
But when a special squad formed to nab persons with firearms — Tiger Mobile Force — allegedly targets bikers without helmets and lets them off the hook with a Rs 200-500 bribe, it makes even seasoned cops blush.
On the spate of helmet-checks in Sonari that ended with cash changing hands, deputy superintendent of police (traffic) Rakesh Mohan Srivastava said they were not a part of it.
“If it’s Sonari, it must be the Tiger Mobile Force, who are supposed to check persons carrying arms and ammunitions. We don’t do helmet checks in Sonari. Instead, we have fixed places in Sakchi, Bistupur, Jugsalai and Golmuri, where we conduct regular checks,” DSP Srivastava said.
He added that he had received several complaints about Tiger Mobile Force personnel. The modus operandi of the hunt is the same — nabbing bikers without helmets, demanding money and letting them go.
There are too many bikers on city roads without helmets. So, for a taskforce supposed to haul up persons with firearms or explosives, it makes more business sense to focus on commuters without cover.
Personnel of the Tiger Mobile Force, armed and equipped with wireless sets, move on bikes too.
It helps them make a quick buck easier.
“This trend is worrying,” said the DSP.
He, however, declined to name the places from where he received complaints of helmet-checking made by the tiger mobile squad.
“I can only say that if bikers are confronted by authorities at places other than Sakchi, Bistupur, Golmuri and Jugsalai, they should lodge a complaint with East Singhbhum senior superintendent of police,” he said.
Has any Tiger jawan or traffic policeman asked you for a bribe?