|(Top) A masked Hardik Vipani being taken to the subdivisional judicial magistrate's court in Salt Lake. (Above) The apartment in Bhowanipore in which his family lives. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, Jan. 21: Kirti Vi- pani is sure that his son is innocent. No one in the seven flats in the building, Kamini, on Chakraberia Road, wants to disbelieve him.
'They are a very religious family. They don't even touch eggs. How can a member of their family be involved in a murder' wondered Nitin Desai, a neighbour.
As the Bidhannagar additional chief judicial magistrate rejected Hardik's bail plea today, his father broke down in the courtroom.
'My son has been falsely implicated,' he said.
'They (the police) have beaten him up' they have violated his rights,' he alleged.
After the police told Vipani to ask his son to fly back from Pune, he had called him up.
'On Friday, when he returned to Calcutta, I told the officers of Ballygunge police station that my son was ready to surrender,' he said.
Vipani took Hardik to Ballygunge police station at 3 pm on Friday and was allegedly made to wait till 10. 'They had earlier beaten up my other son Hiren when he went to lodge the missing complaint with Ankit's sister,' he said.
Everyone in the four-storey building in the middle-class Bhowanipore locality vouches for the family's credentials.
Babulal Agarwal, the building secretary, said: 'Vipani is a simple, hardworking man. He does not even own a car. He supplies chemicals to used-tyre dealers. His children are very well behaved.'
Hiren and Hardik are twins nicknamed Luv and Kush.
The Vipanis, one of the two Gujarati families in the Marwari-dominated building, live in an 850 sq ft flat on the third floor.
When The Telegraph knocked on their door on Saturday evening, a relative peeped through an opening in the door and said: 'We have nothing to say. Both Kirti and Hiren have gone out now. Hardik's mother is not well and the doctor has advised her rest.'
A neighbour said: 'They are such god-fearing people' we wake up to the sound of their puja bells every morning. Even the younger son Kush prays every day. He comes out of the house to bow before the Ganesh statue installed on the door outside. It's so rare in young men these days.'
Hiren studies at Bhawanipur Education Society College. Hardik left for Pune two years ago to pursue a CA intermediate degree.
Police officers on the case said Hardik and Ankit Desai, for whose murder he has been arrested, went to the same school in central Calcutta.
'The twins are tall and have a wheatish complexion. They are identical. Only Hardik is better built and Hiren is lanky,' Agarwal said.
'People in this building are very conservative. Wearing western outfits or partying at night are not looked upon very kindly here. It is not easy to picture a boy from here committing such a crime,' said another neighbour.