Love drove Prabir Bhattacharya to despair and nearly to his death in Keshtopur last week. Police said Prabir’s heart was set on Meeta, wife of local crimelord Mintu Pal, alias Nona. The man with a dozen murder charges against him shot Prabir in the stomach from point-blank range in his apartment. Prabir is now fighting for his life.
In a twist to the tale, Meeta lodged a complaint of ‘torture’ against her husband, under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, on Wednesday.
The triangle tale that all but ended in tragedy was scripted behind bars a couple of years ago. According to additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand, Prabir’s wife had accused him of torture in January 2000. “Prabir was arrested and sent to Dum Dum Central Jail,’’ said Nand. “There, he met Nona, who was serving a sentence for murder and dacoity.’’
Prabir and Nona became friends and the crimelord told him about his wife Meeta, who was struggling to survive alone. “Nona told Prabir that it would be a while before he got out of jail and so requested his new-found friend to take care of his wife once his term ended,” police said.
Prabir went to meet Meeta after being set free and soon, the two started spending a lot of time together. In mid-2001, Prabir divorced his wife and rented a house in his neighbourhood for Meeta.
Six months after Prabir met Meeta, Nona won bail. “Initially, he did not suspect anything and was grateful to Prabir for looking after his wife in his absence and taking her away from the old neighbourhood,’’ Nand said.
Police arrested Nona again, a couple of weeks after his release. Before going back to Dum Dum Central Jail, he repeated his request to Prabir to look after his wife in his absence.
Six months later, Prabir came to know that Nona’s informers had alerted him. “They told Nona that Prabir and Meeta had been spotted together frequently, at several places,’’ Nand said.
When Nona obtained bail the next time, he headed straight for Prabir’s house. He warned him to stay away from his wife and threatened him with dire consequences. But Prabir refused to toe Nona’s line. With his threats falling on deaf ears, Nona decided to force the issue. One afternoon last week, he lay in wait for Prabir in front of his house. The minute Prabir stepped out of a taxi to walk home, Nona shot him from point-blank range.
Nand said Prabir is recuperating in a local hospital and sleuths are on Nona’s trail.