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Vice heat on house
- Jyotirmoyee’s home attacked by mob

Calcutta, Aug. 17: A mob shouting slogans against Avtar Singh, husband of CPM member of Parliament Jyotirmoyee Sikdar, descended on the couple’s house in Salt Lake and pelted stones, smashing panes and the windshield of their new Opel Astra.

Avtar has been remanded in judicial custody till August 30 after he was arrested from his hotel, Merlin Park, on the Salt Lake-Rajarhat border on Independence Day on charges of running a vice den.

“I have not lodged any official complaint against this attack. All I will say is that when an MP’s husband is arrested, there is no one to give the MP any protection. I shall not make any further comment. Whatever has to be said will be done by my party,” Sikdar said, when contacted at home tonight.

Around one this afternoon, about 25 persons converged on the house in CL block. Most of them came in taxis or on two-wheelers, fuelling speculation the attack was orchestrated by “vested interests”.

They hurled stones at the windows as well as the Opel Astra that Avtar had bought only recently. The mob was gone in 10 minutes.

Local CPM leaders alleged that Congress supporters were behind the attack. Police said the culprits were yet to be identified.

“We are investigating the case and the culprits will be arrested soon,” a senior police official of Salt Lake said. Till late tonight, no arrest had been made.

Earlier in the day, Trinamul Congress leaders and local residents staged a demonstration in front of Hotel Merlin Park, asking that the bar be closed. It has been a long-standing demand of residents around the hotel, who say the bar is the cause of disturbances in the residential area.

Several demonstrators tried to force their way into the hotel, triggering clashes with the police. Three Trinamul MLAs, Tanmoy Mondal, Jyotipriya Mullick and Kallol Khan, and seven Biddhannagar Municipality councillors were arrested. They were later released.

Avtar, a former national athlete, who was admitted to B.N. Bose Hospital in Khardah on Monday evening, went from one hospital to another through the day, complaining of headache. Finally, he was lodged in SSKM hospital in the evening.

“Avtar has been admitted in the Woodburn ward of the hospital and tomorrow he will undergo many neurological tests to determine the exact cause of the headache,” said S. Tripathi, the hospital superintendent.

Bidhannagar Municipality chairman Dilip Gupta today dismissed charges that the authorities went out of their way to issue a trade licence for Avtar’s hotel. It was given according to existing rules, he said, adding that a no-objection certificate for the bar was not issued.

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