Bengaluru, March 08: Defence journalists received an unusual email from Dr M S Patil, Ministry of Defence Spokesperson (Bengaluru), on Tuesday. The subject line said: Irresponsible Bengaluru Traffic Police Notice.
Dr Patil, a senior journalist-cum-spokesperson, reached out to the media after the Bengaluru Traffic Police (BTP) sent him a traffic violation notice.
"I have received a notice by post from BTP asking me to pay a fine of Rs 100 for not wearing a helmet. Actually it is an old car (Matiz), which is grounded for the last one year. The notice says that it is a motorcycle and the violation took place at Sagar Junction in MICO Layout. It is totally wrong," says the press release from Dr Patil, who was with the Doordarshan for 30 years, before moving to MoD.
When contacted, Dr Patil said he never drove a two-wheeler and the car has been lying idle. He uses an official vehicle provided by MoD.
"The car (KA 02 B 2488) needs repairs and the mechanic said it might cost me over Rs 50,000. I am sure the BTP has committed a mistake and I have made an online reply to the notice. It is not the question of money, but why should I pay for a fault not committed by me," says Dr Patil, who is set to retire from the services in May 2016.
Interestingly, Dr Patil had his share of 'encounters' with the government departments in the past as well. He was charged a monthly bill of Rs 4,500 by the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) recently.
"My water bill used to be around Rs 600 every month. But I was shocked to get a bill of Rs 4,500. When contested, the BWSSB officials said that even air can make the meter run and I have to be alert when the water is released. I was told to ensure that air doesn't enter into the tap," says Dr Patil, who has been the MoD Spokesperson for the region since 2011.
Speaking to OneIndia, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) M A Saleem did not rule out the possibility of a mistake.
"We found that there are mistakes in 80 notices that were sent out recently. It could be a possibility that he (Dr Patil) is one among them. We issue over 10,000 notices for traffic violations every day. Sometimes, during data entry mistakes creep in and we shall rectify the same," Saleem said.
However, the spokesperson's decision to issue an email on such a 'trivial matter' hasn't gone well with some journalists.
"It's a very trivial issue and that too his personal matter. It was not a right decision to issue a release," says a Defence Correspondent with a national daily.