Krishnagar, Dec. 8: Panic reigned at the Nabadwip subdivisional court this afternoon when an object ' believed to be a pellet ' came flying into the first-floor courtroom of a civil judge, smashing a window pane.
Shards of glass spread around the room, sending assistant civil judge Biswanath Pramanik, lawyers and five witnesses of a dispute case being heard scurrying for the door.
As the news spread, proceedings in the criminal and fast-track courts on the ground floor came to a halt as lawyers rushed upstairs to find out what had happened.
A large contingent from Nabadwip police station surrounded the building and evacuated about 100 litigants, witnesses and accused.
Till this evening, police were not sure what had come crashing through the window as a search of the courtroom yielded nothing.
Nadia superintendent of police R. Rajshekharan said a pellet was possibly fired from a gun.
'There are two houses located about 200 metres away from the court building. I have asked the inspector-in-charge of Nabadwip police station to search the two houses and interrogate the residents. I have also sent arms experts from Krishnagar to investigate. I will get a comprehensive report soon,' the police superintendent said.
The incident took place around 12.15 pm. 'The judge was listening to a witness when a deafening crack reverberated through the room and shards of glass flew all over the place. Some of the pieces fell on the floor behind Pramanik. We did not know what to do and all of us, including the judge, rushed out fearing trouble,' a lawyer said.
Pramanik went to his chamber and called up Nabadwip police. He also informed the district sessions judge, Raghunath Bhattacharya.
When the incident occurred, Haru Ghosh, a notorious criminal from Nabadwip, accused of killing a housewife and her 10-year-old son in May, was being tried at the fast-track court.
Asked whether he could have staged the attack to intimidate witnesses, Rajshekharan said: 'We are looking into all possibilities. We have detained a number of people for interrogation.'