The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Schoolboys held for eve-tease

Five Class XII students, riding a Maruti, followed actress June and telefilm-maker Anindita Sarbadhicary, passed lewd comments at them and finally blocked their way in Salt Lake on Saturday evening.

The students ' one of them from Amrit Academy, Kankurgachhi, and the rest from Daulatram Nopany School, in north Calcutta's Nanda Mullick Lane ' were arrested on Sunday morning. All were granted bail.

They have been identified as Tarun Agarwal (of Amrit Academy), Ruchit Dhandhania, Mishal Arya, Anupam Tiwari and Ankit Bansal.

The incident occurred weeks after a 14-year-old girl was raped in front of her parents in Salt Lake and days after chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said in the Assembly that crimes against women were on the rise in the township and in Calcutta.

June and Anindita were returning from City Centre around 8 pm when they were spotted by the gang. As the two were driving out of the parking lot ' June was at the wheel ' the boys made obscene gestures and passed lewd comments at them.

'We decided to ignore them, but the boys hopped into a blue Maruti and started trailing us,' Anindita said.

The Maruti overtook June's car after a while, the boys all along shouting obscenities at the duo. 'The taunts were becoming unbearable, but we decided to ignore them. They seemed to be enjoying playing a cat-and-mouse game with us,' Anindita added.

After driving for another 200 metres, the Maruti stopped suddenly right in front of June's car, leaving her with no option but to slam the brakes.

As the women stepped out and challenged the boys, they surrounded June and 'hurled abuses at her'.

When she told them she would report them to police and started taking down the Maruti's registration number, the youths shot back: 'Kya karlega, police mein complaint karega' Commissioner ka baap bhi kuch nahi kar sakega.'

At this point, Anindita took out her cell phone and called Herman Preet Singh, deputy inspector-general (Presidency range). 'Anindita called me up around 8.30 pm. She narrated the incident and passed on the vehicle number. I informed Salt Lake police about the incident,' Singh told Metro.

After talking to the officer, the women got into their car, warned the gang not to follow them any more and drove off.

'The boys still kept trailing us for some time, but we managed to shook them off by driving through lanes and bylanes,' Anindita said. She lodged a complaint with Bidhannagar (North) police station on Sunday morning.

North 24-Parganas police superintendent Praveen Kumar pressed a team into action late on Saturday. The sleuths traced the Maruti's owner and arrested one of the boys, Tarun Agarwal, in Burrabazar. His father runs a business in marble.

Interrogating him, police learnt the whereabouts of the other four and arrested Ruchit in Kankurgachhi, Mishal in Cossipore, Anupam in Burrabazar and Ankit in Howrah.

'All were rounded up by 11 am, produced in court and granted bail,' Kumar added.

Rajendra Gupta, who represented the boys in court, said his clients were 'falsely implicated' in the case. 'They are innocent. The two ladies had actually started an argument with them.'

A. Samuel Raj, rector of Daulatram Nopany School, said an inquiry would be initiated and if found guilty, the boys would be dismissed.

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