Mumbai News

Mumbai: Cops concede mistake, clear scribe held for Bandra chaos – Times of India

MUMBAI: The Bandra police recently submitted a closure report before the magistrate court, giving a clean chit to TV journalist Rahul Kulkarni, accused of airing false news about the movement of long-distance trains that triggered chaos at Bandra station as migrants gathered in large numbers on the afternoon of April 14. Kulkarni (43) had been arrested from his residence in Osmanabad on April 15 and granted bail a day later.
Conceding that the case was filed due to “mistake of fact”, cops submitted the ‘C Summary’ report and requested the Bandra magistrate court to accept it.


The police had clearly shown undue haste in booking a journalist for the crowd that had gathered at Bandra station on April 14. The facts mentioned in the police’s closure report make it clear that the cops did not have strong grounds for filing a case against the TV news correspondent but still went ahead. The case should serve as an example to the police of how they should do due diligence before booking people for crime.

No intent, and journalist did not mention Bandra in report: Cops
The report said violating lockdown norms, on April 14, 1,000-1,200 migrant workers from Bandra slums such as Shastrinagar, Qureshinagar, Maharashtra Nagar and Nargis Dutt Nagar gathered at the spot between 3.44pm and 5.15pm.
At the time of arrest, police alleged Kulkarni’s channel aired the report that railways had decided to run special trains for stranded workers to return home. He was booked under sections of IPC and Epidemic Diseases Act.
But the police report concluded Kulkarni’s report on the Marathi news channel did not give definitive information about when and where the railway services would start. The reports were aired between 9am and 11.23am, and Kulkarni told cops the information was gathered from railway officials. “He has stated in every news item that only proposals are under consideration of the government and he had no intention of spreading rumours through this news,” the report said.
It stated that witnesses whose statements were recorded had not seen Kulkarni’s news report. A witness, police said, heard a stranger say, “Let’s go to Bandra railway station, hurry up, there is information that even the news channels were saying the government is running trains for the villages”. However, during investigation, it was found that the witnesses had not actually heard or seen Kulkarni’s news reports. Cops recorded statements of 11witnesses.
The 83-page report also pointed out that while Bandra railway terminus at Bandra (E) was meant for long-distance trains, only local suburban trains ran from the railway station at Bandra (W) and the crowd had gathered at Bandra (W). Cops said Kulkarni had neither mentioned Bandra railway station nor any other railway station in his reports. “There is no reason to believe that Kulkarni has deliberately misinformed or influenced the migrant workers,” the report said. The report also mentioned an FIR registered against Navi Mumbai resident Vinay Dubey, arrested for spreading rumours and instigating migrants through social media. Police pointed at his involvement and said witnesses had seen his post. Dubey is out on bail.