| Rooms are being added to the officer-in-charge's address. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Sticking out a palm for it to be greased may be the most visible aspect of cop corruption, but a senior police officer is busy building a monument of misdemeanour.
Subrata Banerjee, officer-in-charge (OC) of Gariahat police station, is said to be reconstructing his house in brazen violation of building rules prevalent in Calcutta.
A team of civic engineers inspecting the building, at the intersection of Townshend Road and Bakul Bagan Road, discovered on Tuesday that rooms were being added to the existing three-storeyed structure without sanction from the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC).
Led by assistant engineer (borough VIII), Parag Rakshit, the team on Thursday prepared a list of floor-wise violations, drawings of work in progress and recommendations.
'Rakshit informed me that the building is owned by the OC, Gariahat police station. No one in that house could produce any sanction from the civic authorities for the large-scale extension work and the projecting cantilevers,' said city architect (north) Subrata Seal.
'I could not believe that a responsible police officer was behaving like a common criminal,' said mayor Bikash Bhattacharya. 'If a larger inquiry supports the preliminary findings, I shall recommend stringent action against him.'
When Metro contacted OC Banerjee, his first reaction was: 'I do not know anything about the house.'
When he was told that several neighbours, as well as workmen on the spot, had said 'borobabu' (OC Banerjee) would often stay and supervise construction work, he said: 'It's not my house, so there is no question of my visiting it.'
Then the OC was informed that he had been spotted in the building around 4.30 pm on Thursday, while reconstruction work was on in full swing in three small rooms on the terrace.
'I remember now' It (the building) is owned by a relative who has asked me to oversee the work. I can always visit a relative's place, can't I' countered OC Banerjee.
Senior officials at Lalbazar confirmed the incident but said: 'The issue will be addressed in consultation with the home department'.
At the CMC headquarters, municipal commissioner Debashis Som said the matter could be taken to the police commissioner. Dipankar De, member (buildings), has sought a detailed report of the wrongdoings at the address of contention.