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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Public thrashes police goonda
- Traders rise against greasy-palmed constable
HAPPY HUNTING GROUNDS: The motor spares market in Sinthee’s Phoolbagan that constable Sanjay Singh would terrorise. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta

For two years, Sanjay Singh ruled the Phoolbagan market with a greasy palm and an iron fist. Thanks to the pot-bellied constable’s extortion exploits, the motor parts traders learnt to fear cops far more than criminals. Till they finally decided to fight back.

Singh’s reign of terror ended on Wednesday morning, when his victims ganged up against him.

A group of more than 1,500 traders surrounded the rogue cop from Sinthee police station when he was out on one of his routine extortion rounds. They gave him a sound thrashing, till a senior trader intervened and ensured that he was handed over to the cops rather than lynched by the mob.

“Singh acted like a gangster, an extortionist. We handed him over to the officer-in-charge (OC) of Sinthee police station, Gautam Kar, who assured us that he would not never be seen in our market again,” said Ghanshyam Shaw, secretary of the traders’ association of the market, that houses close to 1,000 outlets dealing in motor parts.

“He was a menace, extorting Rs 2 from a jhalmuriwallah and Rs 15,000 from a scrap trader on any given day,” said another trader.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that Singh “had no business” going to the market. “He was not asked to go there and he did not tell the thana he was going. An inquiry has been initiated and if he is found guilty, appropriate action will be taken,” said Pradip Chatterjee, deputy commissioner of police (headquarters).

Wednesday’s Operation Resistance started around 9.45am. “Singh, in plainclothes, was strolling down a narrow lane. He stopped a Matador van and asked for the chalaan of the material it was carrying. When the driver said it was with the buyer, Singh demanded a bribe,” said trader Samir Chakraborty.

A small group of traders intervened and as news spread, hundreds of others rushed to the spot. “Fed up of this police goonda, they decided to teach him a lesson,” said trader Ramnarayan Shaw.

Singh would have been lynched had not a senior trader stepped in and pulled him into his shop. “Singh would have been dead had it not been for my father. We alerted Sinthee police station, but no one showed up for 45 minutes. Finally, OC Kar was informed about the incident and Singh was handed over to him,” said Ranjit Singh.

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