Calcutta, Oct. 18: A 32-year-old executive was crushed to death under the wheels of a police jeep in the Maidan area this morning as he was riding to office on his motorcycle.
The driver of the jeep has been arrested and charged with rash and negligent driving, but the police refuse to admit that he was at fault.
The victim’s family thinks otherwise.
First, the facts that are not under dispute: Around 7.15 this morning Indranil Chatterjee was travelling on work to Tarakeshwar, in Hooghly, when his motorcycle collided with a police jeep at the crossing of Queen’s Way and Cathedral Road. Severely injured, Chatterjee was rushed to SSKM Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
So far, in the absence of any independent eyewitness, the police have had to depend only on the versions provided by the driver of the jeep and a guard, who was the only occupant of the vehicle.
“On the basis of preliminary investigation it appears that from Queen’s Way, Indranil, who was travelling at considerable speed, took a turn (right) into Cathedral Road and rammed into the approaching jeep,” said Jawed Shamim, the deputy commissioner, traffic. “However, a probe has been ordered.”
Indranil’s family members ' he leaves behind a young wife and a four-year-old daughter ' provided a startlingly different version.
Uncle Ranjan Chatterjee said the police informed him and some other family members of the accident shortly after it occurred. They immediately rushed from their Thakurpukur home to the hospital, only to watch Indranil die.
Thereafter, Ranjan claimed, to pacify the agitated family members, they were brought over to the Maidan police station where officer-in-charge Arup Choudhury told them that Indranil had to meet his untimely end because of the negligence of the police driver.
“Choudhury told us that the police jeep, which was travelling fast along the empty road, ignored the red light at the Cathedral Road-Queen’s Way intersection and hit Indranil who was proceeding towards Victoria Memorial,” Ranjan said.
“He also told us to keep quiet about it as the matter was being sorted out and compensation arranged.”
It is tempting to believe Ranjan’s version as police vehicles routinely flout all traffic laws.
Ranjan also said there was no reason for Indranil to take a right turn into Cathedral Road and go north when he was headed for Tarakeshwar via the Vidyasagar Setu, travelling east to west.
However, Shamim said: “There is no question of hushing up the matter when a tragic accident has taken place. We don’t want to prove a point. A particular officer-in-charge may have said something to cool tempers, but that may not be the truth.”