Cop Assaults Only Much Louder Crew At Enrique Iglesias Concert In Pune
OML says Hadapsar ACP wanted free entry for his guests; cops deny accusation, citing overcrowding as the reason for the assault
Team members of Mumbai-based event management agency Only Much Louder [OML] including its CEO Vijay Nair and Bigtree Entertainment’s director Rajesh Balpande were assaulted by Hadapsar Police Station’s Assistant Commissioner of Police, VT Pawar, on October 17th at Amanora Park in Pune. The incident occurred at about 8.30 pm, just ahead of the Micromax Enrique Iglesias Tour that was organized by OML.
According to Nair, Pawar arrived at the concert venue with several guests and insisted that they be allowed entry into the concert without passes or wrist bands. Adds Nair, “I was backstage [when Pawar arrived], but when I arrived there and asked ”˜Aap ke saath kaun kaun hai?’ the ACP started hitting me with a lathi. When Rajesh [Balpande] tried to click a picture, he hit him and his ear drum was ruptured.” Nair sufferedÂ bruises on his back and head, while his colleague, Manish Chandani, sustained bruises on his back and leg.
In a press release that was issued on October 18th, OML stated that the organizers had alreadyÂ allowed a few of the ACP’s guests into the platinum [Rs 8,000 per ticket] area without any pass and the ACP prevented the security from checking his guests. The release also stated that Pawar began assaulting the organizers when he was asked to proceed into the venue without additional guests.
News of the assault spread on social media platforms on Thursday evening when musician Vishal Dadlani tweeted, “Pune cops beat up OML crew at the Enrique show yesterday, for not letting them and their cronies in without tkts! @vijay_nair was beaten too.” Nair adds, “People on Twitter have gone berserk blaming Pune cops. They have nothing to do with it. In fact they have been as helpful as they can be. It was the DCP and the other senior authorities who managed to control this ACP.”
Cops at the Hadapsar Police Station denied that the ACP wanted to get in more guests for free. Raghunath G Jadhav, Senior Police Inspector, Hadapsar Police Station says, “IÂ was there with the ACP when the incident took place. We noticed that the organizer, who had taken permission for 7,000-10,000 people for the programme, had over 17,000 people at the venue. Our main concern was security, but the organizers told the police constable there that they will conduct the checks themselves. We saw that the security checks weren’t happening and the organizers didn’t allow the ACP to go forward with the checks. This is when the ACP hit one of them and lathi charge occured.”
Nair for his part said that the concert did not draw an audience of more than 7,000. “We had already given Pawar hundreds of passes,” Nair says, adding that the Enrique Iglesias concert had gone on smoothly despite this disturbing incident. “Since there were many VIPs attending the concert, every bit of security was well taken care of, from bomb squads to metal detectors and sniffer dogs. The only thing we didn’t prepare for was a policeman abusing his power. We live in a civilized society and things like this cannot happen,” says Nair.
Although an FIR is yet to be filed, Nair’s partner at OML Girish Talwar submitted a written complaint to the Hadapsar Police station at around 2 am on Thursday morning. According to Nair, their application has been received and stamped by the concerned officer on duty with the assurance that due action would be taken.