A retired magistrate of Bankshal court and his son were arrested on Sunday night for allegedly beating up a middle-aged tenant suffering from cardiac ailments so badly that she had to be admitted to hospital.
Krishna Bhattacharya, 48, and her son Joy, 19, have been staying at former magistrate Alok Dutta’s house in Mukherjeepara, Ramrajatala, for the past three months. Her husband Pranab works with a private firm in Hyderabad.
On Sunday night, Joy lodged a complaint with police, stating that hours earlier Alok Dutta, in his mid-60s, and his son Ujjal, 27, had beaten up his mother so severely that she had fallen “seriously ill” and had to be admitted to SSKM Hospital.
The landlord and his son were arrested soon after, said additional superintendent (Howrah town) Milan Das. On Monday morning, they were produced in the Howrah chief judicial magistrate’s court, where they were granted bail.
Duttas’ lawyer Jayanta Das said: “My clients are innocent. There was a scuffle in which some local residents joined forces with the tenants against the Duttas. The woman might have sustained injuries in the scuffle.”
A police officer said preliminary investigation suggested that the Duttas were pressuring their tenants to vacate the house. An altercation over the matter took a nasty turn on Sunday night.
According to Joy, their landlord was not giving them enough time to find another house and shift. On Sunday night, Alok Dutta and Ujjal visited the Bhattacharyas and asked them to leave the house immediately, he said.
When the mother and son refused, the Duttas allegedly started kicking and punching Joy. “My mother tried to save me, but they started beating her up, too,” Joy said.
Hearing the mother-son’s cries for help, some neighbours rushed to the house and intervened.
“The neighbours managed to restrain Alok and Ujjal. My mother is a cardiac patient. She could not withstand the brutal beating and the humiliation at the hands of the Duttas. She lost consciousness. With the help of our neighbours, I took my mother to SSKM Hospital, where she is now admitted. My father does not live in the city. I have telephoned him. I don’t know what to do now,” said Joy.
The officer said some local residents had told police that Dutta had been “misbehaving” with the tenants for some time without provocation.