Mumbai: In a dramatic turn of events on Thursday, four civic security guards were first suspended and then reinstated, on the same day. The actions occurred after the security staff, who were supposed to ensure that BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) chief Ajoy Mehta’s car enjoyed traffic-free lanes near the BMC headquarters building, failed to do so.

Following this episode, four security staffers — three men and a woman — Pravin Sadare, Mahendra Ankush, Vinod Nagargoje and Devika Patil, were suspended. Two of the four security staff were equipped with rifles and live bullets. When their suspension orders were issued, the senior officer of the security department asked them to turn in the rifles and bullets to the BMC Worli office.

A civic official revealed this was not the first time Mehta had been subjected to the inconvenience. On Wednesday, he had asked the security department officer to check CCTV footage. “After scanning the day’s footage they learned that the four security staff members were deployed at gate numbers 4 and 5, where the commissioner’s car passes were not available on the spot. Hence, based on the CCTV footage, the action had been initiated,” claimed the officer. Mumbai-based activist Godfrey Pimenta lambasted the commissioner for the action taken by the head of department of security. Pimenta blamed the pothole-ridden roads for causing traffic snarls across the city. “Every day citizens suffer this inconvenience. Drivers suffer from acute back pain after sitting in the car for long. Some have lost their lives after falling into potholes and getting crushed under the wheels of other vehicles. Despite all these incidents, no such suspension action has been taken against the BMC commissioner, for the negligence caused to us citizens.”

He blamed civic authorities for making a mountain out of a molehill. “The move is wrong and if such an action was taken, then the civic chief and other BMC officers should also be punished similarly,” said Pimenta.