Over 1,400 road accidents involving either injury or death have been recorded on the streets of Calcutta from January 1 to August 31. And police have failed to initiate proceedings in 679 cases, putting paid to even the faintest chance of the errant drivers being brought to book.
According to records available with the traffic police, 161 cases on the eastern fringes of the city are yet to be probed. Similarly, chargesheets against offending vehicles have not been filed in several cases in the central, south and north divisions.
“The lackadaisical attitude of the local police stations is to be blamed. After lodging the FIR they don’t pursue the case and the rogue drivers go scot-free,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar traffic control room.
According to the rulebook, the local police station under which an accident takes place must file a chargesheet against the vehicle in question. Only accidents involving loss of life are taken up by the Fatal Squad Traffic Police (FSTP) following an initial registry in the police station.
“We have taken over the fatal cases from local police stations. Investigation is on in some cases while others are pending due to lack of co-ordination with the local police stations,” claimed an officer of the Fatal Squad.
The senior officer at Lalbazar, however, said the Fatal Squad officers were equally to blame for the delay as they expected the local police station to do all the legwork.
The internal tussle between the local police station and the Fatal Squad apart, the general lack of ground-level action in accident cases is all too evident.
A case in point — a man sustained serious injuries after being hit by a truck in the port area a fortnight ago; the police, despite having the number of the vehicle, are yet to arrest the driver or impound the vehicle.
“The vehicle is owned by S. Chowdhury in Murshidabad. Our officers will soon go there to seize the vehicle,” said an officer of South Port police station. When asked about the delay, he retorted: “We are under-staffed in a crime-prone area and cannot afford to just go around chasing vehicles.”
Manoj Verma, the deputy commissioner (traffic), said: “I will look into the matter.”