Man abducts ‘bride’ for son
Reallotment rap on vacant plots
Auto drivers block roads to protest assault
Partyman, promoter, protector
Broomstick brigade to beautify Lakes
Knowledge treasure trove set to get hi-tech
Common ailment, novel cure
Arrest in footwear magnate abduction
Row over child ends in suicide
Rampage erupts on campus

 
 
MAN ABDUCTS ‘BRIDE’ FOR SON 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
His son’s wish was his command. Even if that meant the abduction of a 15-year-old girl who his 22-year-old son was “desperate to marry”.

Jiten Adhikary, determined to help son Jeru win the hand of Rekha (name changed), led a swoop on the girl’s Entally home on Sunday night and abducted her. Adhikary, a trader residing on Pottery Road, was accompanied by his son and brother-in-law Shyamal Das.

Gulap Mahato, the girl’s father, promptly filed a case of kidnapping with Entally police station. The trader, living on Kamardanga Road, accused Adhikary of “kidnapping Rekha to get his son married off to her”.

Police conducted nightlong raids at a number of houses in central and north Calcutta to track down the accused. Adhikary and Das were finally netted. But till late on Monday, there was no sign of Jeru or the girl.

Banibrata Basu, deputy commissioner, detective department, said: “The manner of the abduction clearly reflects a sense of desperation. We have already started a kidnapping case against the arrested duo and are trying to ascertain whether there was any other point of dispute between the two traders.”

According to the complaint lodged by Mahato, he was not at home when Adhikary struck, around 8 pm. “Jeru and Das first knocked on the main door. As my wife opened the door, the three men stormed into the drawing room. They warned my wife not to raise an alarm. As Rekha came out of another room on hearing the commotion, Adhikary grabbed her by the arms,” Mahato said in his complaint.

“She tried to resist, but then Jeru joined in and the father-son duo dragged my daughter out of the house.”

Police said a car was waiting outside the Mahato residence. “Adhikary, Jeru and Das boarded the car and sped away from the spot,” said Basu.

After Mahato lodged the complaint, a police team raided Adhikary’s Pottery Road residence. But none of the accused was present.

“Police then questioned Adhikary’s family members and collected the addresses of their relatives. They raided several places in Burrabazar, Shyambazar and Cossipore, before picking up Adhikary and Das. Raids are on to track down the boy and girl,” said Basu.

Police, meanwhile, are questioning local residents and relatives of the two families to ascertain whether Jeru and Rekha were friends. “As the girl is a minor, we will go by her father’s statement. And everyone arrested in the case will be charged with kidnapping,” said the detective chief.

   

 
 
REALLOTMENT RAP ON VACANT PLOTS 
 
 
BY SHANKAR MUKHERJEE
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Wanted: Reallotment letter for building rights. That’s the message from the Salt Lake Municipality to at least 100 plot-holders who have failed to start construction. Their building-plan sanctions have been withheld and they have been asked to “furnish government-issued reallotment letters to prove that they have not illegally transferred the plots to others”.

“We have clearly told such plot-holders that they will have to show us reallotment letters issued by the urban development affairs department if they want building-plans sanctioned,” Salt Lake Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta said.

The municipality action stems from a government decision to withhold permission for construction on Salt Lake plots that have been kept unused. Seeking to curb unauthorised transfer of plots in the township at high premiums, the measure is aimed at forcing owners of vacant plots — who have been indifferent to repeated reminders — to start construction within three years of receiving them, as laid down in their agreements with the urban development affairs department.

“If anyone fails to construct a building even a decade after getting a plot, it’s clear that he/she does not require the land,” said urban development affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya. “There are thousands of people running from pillar to post for a plot. We shall take over the vacant plots from those who do not require them and hand them over to those who really need it.’’

The government has been forced to make this move following its failure to take over the vacant plots, as planned two years back, say officials. Though the government is within its rights to take over plots lying vacant for more than three years if it is not satisfied with the cause of delay shown by plot-holders, many of them go to court and obtain stay orders.

According to a survey conducted by the urban development affairs department, the residential zone of the township still has 2,600 vacant plots in Sectors I, II and III. Of them, more than 500 are lying vacant for more than 15 years.

   

 
 
AUTO DRIVERS BLOCK ROADS TO PROTEST ASSAULT 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Autorickshaws turned traffic stoppers yet again on Monday morning. Peak-hour traffic in Chetla ground to a halt as a three-wheeler brigade blocked roads following the alleged assault on an auto driver by the security guard of a police officer.

Around 10 am, Manu, a local auto driver, was manning the Chetla-Rashbehari line when a white Tata Sumo of a senior police officer was caught in a jam at the crossroad. The driver of the Sumo tried for some time to dodge the snarl, allegedly caused by the autos. After some time, the security guard got off the car and beat up Manu.

As news spread, auto drivers swung into action. They blocked P.M. Roy Road and Rakhal Das Auddy Road, demanding “immediate punishment of the security guard”. The roadblock continued till 12 noon, when senior police officers arrived on the spot and promised to look into the matter. But by then, traffic in the area had been thrown out of gear.

Firhad Hakim, local Trinamul Congress councillor, was quick to blame it on the cops. “The assault on Manu was unprovoked. He was beaten up so badly that he had to be taken to hospital for first-aid. Matters went out of hand as policemen from Alipore and New Alipore failed to reach the spot on time.”

R.K.Maity, officer-in-charge of New Alipore police station, said: “I cannot say which senior officer was passing at that time. The complainants could neither give us the car number nor the name of the security guard who allegedly beat up the auto driver. But a case has been started and efforts are on to locate the accused.”

The mood among local residents appeared to be anti-auto. “They invariably disrupt office-hour traffic in the area. But no one dares protest, as most of them enjoy political patronage,” said a resident.

   

 
 
PARTYMAN, PROMOTER, PROTECTOR 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
He was transport minister Subhas Chakraborty’s man. Yet, at the end of the day, he was everbody’s man.

Everyone said that he was associated with the murky underworld of Calcutta’s northern fringes. Yet, at the end of the day, there was not a single case lodged against him in any police station in the city.

The going for promoter-cum-protector Pinaki Mitra was good — some would say too good — till he was arrested by CID sleuths from a guest house in Digha early on Sunday.

No one quite knows how he managed to keep one step ahead of the law. But with his arrest, Pinaki has managed to reopen the Salt Lake stadium case that has been dogging Chakraborty.

No one knows for sure if Pinaki made a habit of carrying arms with him. But in the case lodged at the Digha police station, he has been booked precisely for this crime: He was carrying an unlicensed revolver and was planning to commit a dacoity.

But whether or not he was carrying arms, and despite the fact that till Sunday no one had lodged a complaint against him, Pinaki is known in his backyard — Dum Dum, Lake Town, Kalindi — as the “protector”, as the person who would provide shelter to criminals cutting across party lines.

But it wasn’t always this way for Pinaki. Known to be a CPM worker with his own band of followers, he used to work assiduously for party leaders in the area, doing whatever was expected of a loyal partyman.

But, along the way, something changed for Pinaki, just as it has for so many party faithfuls. He decided to earn a living in his own way.

Given the political clout he had acquired in the area through his close association with Chakraborty and other CPM leaders, he decided to join the business that had been booming in the late Eighties and early Nineties: real estate and building promotion.

With the easy association of politics and money, crime was only the next stop. Locals say that the lure of money finally took over the newly-turned promoter and he abandoned his unstinted loyalty to the CPM and became a protector to all hues of criminals.

What kept him out of the police registers was the fact that he is not known to have directly committed any crimes himself, save for the fact that he provided safe house to criminals on the run. He is, in fact, believed to have provided shelter to Nona Roy, the mastermind in the Jaiprakash Gupta kidnap case, till he was murdered near Lake Town by a rival gang.

“There is no case against him in North 24-Parganas,” said district SP Kuldip Singh. “Neither is he wanted by the police in this district. If there is no complaint against him, then where is the question of arresting him?”

No complaint, no arrest had been the successful formula of Pinaki. Through his considerable clout in the area, he had managed to ensure this and by making everyone happy, he kept the process moving smoothly. Till luck ran out on Sunday.

   

 
 
BROOMSTICK BRIGADE TO BEAUTIFY LAKES 
 
 
BY DEVADEEP PUROHIT
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
The lakes are coming alive with the sound of a silent surge led by local residents. Decades of neglect have turned the Dhakuria greens into a jungle and the once-sparkling waters into a cesspool. Fed up of “waiting for them to do it”, residents of the area have decided to give one of the most prominent spots in south Calcutta a clean new look — with some help from the likes of the Indian Navy, the Agri-Horticultural Society of India and Tolly Club.

“We have decided to shoulder the responsibility of restoring and beautifying the Lakes. To start with, we are targeting the stretch between Menoka cinema and S.P. Mukherjee Road. For this, we are involving everyone, from slum-dwellers to the Navy,” says Mudar Patherya, a local resident and a prime mover of the self-help group, along with B.L. Chandak.

The people’s movement got under way with a small group of residents armed with broomsticks and plastic gloves hitting the grimy greens. Slum-dwellers of the area were quick to lend a helping hand, cutting bushes, cleaning the stretch and planting saplings, on the greens and on the pavement leading to Menoka. “We’ve made a start and now there’s no stopping us,” says a woman worker of the area.

To combine expertise with emotion, the Horticultural Society has been roped in to draw up a master plan for the beautification of the entire area. “We are chipping in with our technical know-how of what to plant, how to plant, sourcing of materials, landscaping, earth-filling, protection of lake embankments,” said Deepak Erasmus. The secretary-cum-CEO of the 180 -year old Society is confident that the plan will be ready “within two weeks” and the “implementation part” will then start “with a bang”.

The Indian Navy, which has its Naval NCC office in the Lakes opposite Menoka, has also pitched in. Commodore R.K. Dass, naval officer in-charge, West Bengal, attributed the Navy’s association with the new-look lake project to its “social contribution” endeavour.

“The Lakes desperately need a makeover. We believe that it’s only the people in that area who can bring about a change in a sustained manner. Our cadets will extend all help necessary for the beautification of the Lakes.”

But the Calcutta Improvement Trust (CIT) has been playing spoilsport, allege residents. “We were doing the cleaning up ourselves. But the CIT is now trying to block our initiative,” alleged R.P. Das, a morning walker-cum-activist.

A.K. Das, chief engineer-II, CIT, rubbished the charge. “The residents have never consulted us and whatever they have done is nothing but a publicity stunt... This has recently got national lake status. A plan outlay of Rs 1 crore has been drawn up and work on the lakes will start after the monsoon. By March next year, the lake will have a new look,” promised Das.

The residents are not convinced. They want to just do it — with all “friends of the Lakes”.

   

 
 
KNOWLEDGE TREASURE TROVE SET TO GET HI-TECH 
 
 
BY SUNANDO SARKAR
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
This is one product of “the establishment” which the only little-magazine library of Calcutta, fed on at least one generation of ‘counter-establishment’ ideas, could not resist.

The Little Magazine Library-o-Gabeshana Kendra, which has a collection of the rarest little magazines — it gave Nirad C. Chaudhuri a 1940 copy of a magazine he had edited but himself didn’t have — in Bengal, is all set to enter the computer-age.

The computers sent to this unique storehouse of the city’s ‘parallel’ heritage by Calcutta Ahead, a London-based organisation of prabashi Bangalis, is yet to cross the Customs hurdle and reach the dusty, smelling-of-old-books rooms on Tamer Lane. But library-founder Sandip Dutta has already chalked out what he’s going to do with them.

“My first task will be to change the age-old process of preparing catalogues,” he said on Sunday. The library, with its 25,000 volumes, will become much more manageable when the catalogue is computerised.

“It will, I expect, be a much simpler and faster process,” Dutta hoped.

The second offshoot of computerisation will be the ease with which it will be possible to establish and maintain contact with similar super-speciality libraries elsewhere.

Dutta’s pioneering effort wasn’t pre-planned. There were two incidents — he was “humiliatingly” rebuffed when he requested National Library not to throw away a priceless collection of little magazines in the 1970s and then laughed off by Calcutta University academicians when he wanted to do his Ph.D on little magazines — which steeled his resolve to preserve this “wonderful treasure-trove of knowledge”.

The wheel’s come full circle now — when William Radice wanted to research Michael Madhusudan Dutt in 1993, he came to Dutta’s library before going to National Library; when Nirad C. Chaudhuri was looking for Samasamayika, a Bengali volume he had edited in 1940, he fell back on Dutta’s library; when French academicians come to Calcutta to know more about Ritwik Ghatak’s films, it’s the Tamer Lane library that helped them; and, last but not the least, CU now invites Dutta to speak on his favourite topic in refresher courses for teachers.

But Dutta, whose library boasts of at least 2,000 publications which probably can’t be found anywhere else and some little magazines written on palm leaves, banana leaves, cigarette packs and matchboxes, is past all that. His dreams now wrest on the computer which, he says, will help him build “more bridges with little people”.

   

 
 
COMMON AILMENT, NOVEL CURE 
 
 
BY SUBHRO SAHA
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
At a time when city doctors are striving hard to perfect an emerging trend in the treatment of pancreatitis and pancreatic stones, a successful operation on a young patient has come as a welcome shot in the arm.

The relatively new “escape route, not often attempted in Calcutta”, has joined the pancreatic duct of a 30-year-old suffering from multiple stones in the pancreas directly with the stomach through a single bypass. The usual line of treatment is pancreatic jejunostomy, where multiple bypasses are resorted to, linking the pancreatic duct with the small intestine.

Partha Das of Cossipore had been laid low by excruciating pain in the upper abdomen accompanied by occasional vomiting for the last four years. His condition was diagnosed as acute pancreatitis with pancreatic calculi. A routine ultrasonogram of the upper abdomen showed calcification in the pancreatic area.

“To ascertain the nature of the calcification and to pinpoint the area of damage, we did an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangio pancreaticogram) on the patient which revealed multiple stones in the pancreatic duct. In such cases, the common surgical intervention is pancreatico jejunostomy which establishes a bypass between the pancreas and the small intestine. But we decided on pancreatico gastrostomy, which directly connects the pancreatic duct with the stomach,” explains Dr D.J. Bhaumik, consultant surgeon, AMRI Apollo Hospitals, who performed the surgery late last month.

“Lateral pancreatico gastrostomy is not often attempted in Calcutta but, in such cases, should be the treatment of choice,” feels senior consultant surgeon Dipak Ghosh, who supervised the entire surgery procedure. Ghosh, among the first batch of surgeons to have attempted this type of surgery here, maintains that the “technical difficulties are lesser and patient tolerance much better” in pancreatico gastrostomy.

“This procedure is less time-consuming, has a lesser leak rate, there’s no chance of malabsorption and less likelihood of post-operative infection,” says Bhaumik, spelling out the advantages of the procedure. “Earlier, there was a debate over whether the pancreatic juices would be as effective when connected with the acid-rich stomach. But, studies since have revealed that functionally, both the procedures are same.”

With another patient successfully treated through pancreatico gastrostomy, city doctors are now reasonably confident of embracing this method as the “treatment of choice” in cases of pancreatic stones when surgery is possible”. Tackling obstructions of the pancreatic duct has now become relatively easy and patients won’t have to rush to other states for surgery, feels Bhaumik. Stressing on timely diagnosis and better awareness, Bhaumik said: “With today’s propensity towards fast food, instances of pancreatico-billary problems are on the rise and the medical fraternity has to gear up to meet the challenge.”

   

 
 
ARREST IN FOOTWEAR MAGNATE ABDUCTION 
 
 
OUR BUREAU
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Officers of the special investigating team arrested a druglord, referred to as Laltu, from Raigachi, in the Rajarhat area, on Monday, for his alleged role in the abduction of shoe magnate Parthapratim Roy Burman.

Senior CID officials also interrogated Balai Ghosh and his sons in Ghoshpara, Dum Dum.

A massive combing operation was launched in Ghoshpara in search of key suspect Izaz Khan, who had rented rooms at Balai Ghosh’s residence for over a month.

The CID is on the lookout for an Ultadanga-based doctor in connection with the abduction. The doctor, it is learnt, was taken to an undisclosed location somewhere beyond Rajarhat, to treat Roy Burman.

Meanwhile, at Woodlands Hospital, doctors attending on the Khadim’s vice-chairman, have deferred surgery on his left upper arm, which had earlier been scheduled for Tuesday.

An inflammation, suggesting an infection, where an external fixation procedure was carried out on Saturday to keep the shattered bone temporarily in place, has been cited as the cause.

“It’s a major surgery, involving bone grafting, and we have to be sure that there is no infection during or after this surgery,” said medical director S.K. Sen.

No CID official has spoken to the kidnap victim as yet. “Roy Burman has told me that he does not want to ‘relive those memories at this moment’ and I have not asked him anything about it,” Sen said. “When the patient says he is willing, we will call a psychologist to examine him, before informing the police.”

He added that Roy Burman is currently “behaving in a rational manner”.

   

 
 
ROW OVER CHILD ENDS IN SUICIDE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
A quarrel between a husband and wife over who will spend more time with their child ended in a suicide. Pinky Samanta, 25, set herself ablaze on Sunday at her Beninandan Road residence, in the Kalighat police station area, after dousing herself with kerosene in the bathroom.

She was taken to SSKM Hospital with 80 per cent burns. A few hours later, she succumbed to her injuries. Ranjit Pachnanda, deputy commissioner of police, south, said the couple, married seven years ago, would quarrel frequently over this issue.

Pinky’s father, Subhash Roy, told the police that he did not have any allegation against his son-in-law, Rajib Samanta, a small-time trader. “Roy informed us that his daughter was very emotional right from her childhood. She had fought with her husband on several occasions before,” Pachnanda added.

Police do not suspect any foul play in the incident, as none of the victim’s family members has lodged a complaint.

   

 
 
RAMPAGE ERUPTS ON CAMPUS 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, Aug. 6: 
Twelve students, two professors and one office employee of Dinabandhu Andrews College, in Garia, were injured in a clash between SFI and Trinamul Chhatra Parishad activists on Monday. Some girl students of the college, too, were caught in the melee and suffered injuries. One student and a professor had to be hospitalised in a critical condition. The SFI convened a strike in the wake of the violence.

Trouble started around 8.30 am. Raja Naskar, Nazir Gazi and another student, all Trinamul Chhatra Parishad supporters, were whiling away time at the college main entrance. Soumyajit Guha, SFI general secretary, was passing by. Raja shot a rude remark at him. Guha advised restraint, but as Raja carried on abusing him, Guha slapped him.

Raja and his associates left the spot. They returned after some time, accompanied by 25 local youth, armed with bamboos, iron rods and and bricks. They stormed the union room and smashed up furniture in some classrooms.

Haraprasad Samaddar, principal, said: “ The goons beat up students who tried to prevent them from going on the rampage. They did not even spare Atanu Haldar, accountant of the college, and Anupam Pal, a senior teacher of commerce. Their ire was directed at Guha and Indrani Lahiri, former general secretary of the college and a kin of Samik Lahiri, CPM MP. At the time, head of the department of zoology Tarun Kumar Gupta was crossing the road to get to the college. He was knocked down by a bus and broke his leg. Some students tried to damage the bus but policemen from Jadavpur thana arrived and tackled the situation.

Supriya Sarkar, SFI activist, said: “ The attack was preplanned. College union elections are due soon.” But Shyamal Mondal, local Trinamul leader, said: “The SFI supporters were to blame for the violence. They started the fight.”

The principal said: “ A complaint has been lodged against some students who indulged in violence on the campus by bringing in goons from adjacent Birji. After getting the police report, I shall urge the vice-chancellor to take exemplary steps against them.”

Superintendent of police Deb Kumar Ganguly said: “We have received a complaint from the principal. However, timely intervention by the police saved the situation.”

   
 

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