Bengaluru, Mar 05, 2021: A 31-year-old Japan national has stolen a chair from the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), JC Nagar, in Bengaluru last Saturday to ensure action against police officers who he claims asked him to pay a bribe in connection with a case in 2019.
Hirotoshi Tanaka, who came to Bengaluru to learn English in 2019, said he wants the police to book him for stealing a chair and arrest him too.
Speaking to indianexpress.com, Tanaka said he wants to stay in India and seek justice in the 2019 case that has been quashed by the Karnataka High Court. However, that could put him in the crosshairs of the law as the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO) had set February 28 as the deadline for him to go back to his country after the term of his visa expired.
The case, which was filed against Tanaka at RT Nagar police station after he assaulted the principal of the English coaching centre he had enrolled in, was quashed after both parties resolved it between them.
Tanaka said he visited the police station to tender a written apology but was summoned a week later and told that an FIR had been registered against him. He said he spent one night at the police station and a further 19 days at the Parappana Agrahara prison before getting an advocate to have him out on bail.
Why was Tanaka arrested?
According to Tanaka, after he joined the English coaching centre, the principal asked him to work for the centre’s promotion. “He then brought up my salary. I didn’t expect a good salary, of course, but worked hard and with kindness. Then I sent him messages over six days, asking about my salary. But they were ignored. When I met him again, on November 13, 2019, I brought up the matter and we had a heated argument. I shouted at the principal and pushed him to which he said, ‘If you touch me again, you can’t stay in Bengaluru anymore’. I lost my temper and hit him hard,” Tanaka told indianexpress.com.
The owner of the centre approached the police against the Japanese student. He was summoned by the police and told to write an apology before being let off. “Since the case pertained to an illegal job, I told him (principal) to return the tuition fee, failing which I will take it up with FRRO. The police said they had set up a meeting with him at RT Nagar police station to settle the matter. However, as I waited for him, I was arrested all of a sudden. My mobile phone was confiscated and I was put behind bars,” Tanaka said.
On November 2, 2020, the case was quashed by the high court.
The Japanese then approached the state human rights panel, requesting a probe into the alleged corruption of the officers.
Tanaka said that a head constable at RT Nagar police station gave him Rs 1,500 on the day he was released in December 2019, adding that he later paid back the amount. “I didn’t have money and slept in parks. I had my wallet stolen at a park in March, last year. Some policemen took care of my meals,” he said.
“I didn’t bribe the police before being released from prison. After I got out on bail, a police officer at RT Nagar police station demanded a bribe — Rs 8,500 — for returning my bag he had kept during my custody. The complainant (owner of the coaching centre) bribed the police before they arrested me,” he said.
A Psychology graduate from Yaizu city in Shizuoka prefecture of Japan, Tanaka filed a complaint with the human rights commission last month. “A hearing was scheduled but had to be postponed as the Bengaluru City Police didn’t send a report on my case,” Tanaka said.
He said he wants to stay back and ensure the commission punishes the officers who allegedly took a bribe from him. “I stole a chair as I wanted to be booked for the offence and stay in jail so that I can pursue the case against the officers and ensure they are brought to justice before I go back. Provided I have my books and medicines, I can stay in jail. No problem,” Tanaka said.
Tanaka failed to appear before the enquiry officer, say cops
Speaking to indianexpress.com, DCP North Dharmendra Kumar Meena said, “Tanaka made an allegation and sent us a petition. ACP, JC Nagar, who is looking into the case, sent him an email asking him to appear but he failed to do so.”
Police said a case hasn’t been registered against the Japanese for stealing a chair from the ACP office. Speaking to this portal, a senior officer said, “The reason why we didn’t press charges against him is that he is already in violation of the Passport Act and Foreigners Act. The FRRO gave him time till February 28 to go back to his country, but he hasn’t. He now wants to get himself booked so that he can extend his stay.”
“The Japanese consulate has also requested him to go back but he is not responding. It seems, even the envoys have given up hope on him,” the officer said.