An autorickshaw driver was booked by the Chatuhshrungi police for allegedly assaulting an adviser to the University of Pune’s Science and Technology Park (STP) and amateur wildlife photographer, Rajpal Navalkar (55) after he protested against the driver’s demand for exorbitant fare not according to the meter.
According to Navalkar, the autorickshaw driver beat him on the head with a fresh coconut. While the the entire drama was unfolding, the passers-by and the coconut vendor remained silent spectators. The incident took place near Bremen Chowk in Aundh at 9 pm on Saturday.
The police identified the errant driver as Babu Parihar.
“I alighted from the Mumbai-Pune bus at Bremen Chowk at 8.45 on Saturday night and started heading towards my in-laws’ house, which is half a km from the bus stop. As I was tired, I preferred to take an autorickshaw and signaled to one of them,” said Navalkar.
Navalkar told him he would like to go to an apartment at Parihar Chowk. “When I told him the destination, he said it will cost Rs30. I told him it was exorbitant and he should go by the meter. However, he insisted he would not go by the meter.” he said.
Navalkar then told him it was just 9 pm and he should comply with the RTO rules. The autorickshaw driver then became aggressive and started abusing him.
“The moment he started abusing me, I started taking down his autorickshaw number and that made him angry. He assaulted me. He picked up a fresh coconut from a roadside vendor and started hitting me on my head. When he became aggressive, I started running and saved myself,” he said.
He alleged that when the entire incident was unfolding, passers-by and the coconut vendor remained silent spectators and did not intervene.
“On reaching home, I called up the police and registered a complaint at Chatuhshrungi police station,” he said.
Assistant police inspector MN Walekar of the police station said they have registered a non-cognisable offence.