The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police do what goons couldn't

Calcutta, Oct. 27: When in trouble, don't count on Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's police. That's the message sent out from a police station in the city the chief minister describes as 'safe'.

Prem Chand Shah and his son Ashish went to Girish Park police station after their utility store was ransacked and they were beaten up by goons yesterday afternoon.

In the evening, the father and son were called back to the police station. In front of officer-in-charge Dinesh Dutta Burman, they were allegedly threatened by the youths they had reported against and forced to withdraw the complaint.

'One of the club members, Dholu, said they would kill us and burn down our shop if we dared to mess with para youths,' said Ashish. 'The officer-in-charge advised us to withdraw the complaint. He said since we had to run our shops in this locality, it would not be a good idea to rub the neighbourhood 'boys' the wrong way.'

The Shahs were attacked after they refused to give sherbet and sugar 'for free' to members of Ekta Club, organisers of a Durga Puja.

Dutta Burman told the Shahs an amicable solution could be reached if they withdrew their general diary. When they refused, the youths ' 20 were present ' started abusing and threatening them. Instead of stepping in, the police said they would not be responsible if the situation got out of hand.

Prem Chand and Ashish said they were forced to sign a document framed by the OC and the goons stating they had reached a mutual settlement.

Deputy commissioner Rajeev Kumar visited the shop, met the Shahs and posted a police picket. 'There is no denying that Prem Chand and his son were badly roughed up,' he said. 'I am going to take legal action,' Kumar added, indicating the local police station would be kept out of the probe.

Ashish said Citu leader Raj Deo Goala's son accompanied the goons to the police station. Goala denied this but said he would look into the matter.

Dutta Burman was away when a team from The Telegraph visited the police station. The duty officer said the complainants had withdrawn their charges and the police had nothing more to do.

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