The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Duty dereliction lash on police after loot and rape

Goaltore, (West Midnapore), April 30: One police officer has been suspended and a departmental inquiry initiated against five others for dereliction of duty in connection with the alleged rape of five girls during a rerun of the Dhantola incident near here last Saturday.

Officer-in-charge of the Chandrakona investigation centre Rajen Moitra was suspended while the officers-in-charge of the Goaltore and Garbeta police stations, Shyamal Das and Mahakash Chowdhury, district intelligence branch officer Shahjahan Molla and circle inspector, headquarters, S.N. Dutta are facing the probe.

The victims told reporters yesterday that they were raped by the dacoits who waylaid and looted a group of people returning from a wedding feast in a forest near Omrapata.

“We have also sought an explanation from our deputy superintendent of police, administration, S. Mukherjee,” said district police superintendent K.C. Meena. The annoyed officer said these officers had not discharged their duties properly and kept seniors in the dark about the incident.

Meena, who was away in Jharkhand with inspector-general, western range, Gautam Chakraborty and deputy inspector-general, Midnapore range, Sadhan Mondal, rushed back to Midnapore last night with his colleagues on hearing about the incident.

After reaching Omrapata at 10 pm, he conducted raids in which five dacoits were rounded up. The police superintendent returned to Midnapore town this afternoon.

“It is not a question of whether this was an incident of rape. The officers should have conducted an inquiry on getting the complaint that a dacoity had taken place last Saturday. We are looking into the reasons behind this inaction and if we get positive evidence, the officers concerned will be dealt with sternly,” he said today.

Though no formal complaint was lodged with the two police stations close to the forest, a general diary saying a dacoity took place was filed on Sunday at Goaltore police station.

The plea of confusion about the jurisdiction of the two police stations and the investigation centre over the crime site delaying a probe invited sharp criticism.

“It should not concern an officer whether a crime has taken place in his jurisdiction or not, being on duty, it is the policeman’s duty to rush to investigate a crime and inform the officers of the concerned zone,” Meena said.

On Saturday, a jeep from the Chandrakona outpost stumbled on the victims but went on its way even after hearing about their ordeal.

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