Calcutta, Sept. 12: Bejoy Dey lay on the busy Nicco Park road, his skull smashed and yellow T-shirt soaked in blood, as cars zipped and weaved past him in the morning rush hour.
The 25-year-old software professional, who had minutes ago applied the brakes of his bike to save a woman, lay like that for over half an hour before a police van finally arrived. In between, “a minister’s pilot van” barely paused before speeding away.
Stopped by a journalist, the pilot van’s officer had said their “job was to protect VVIPs and ministers…”. But he said he would inform the traffic guard.
Inspector-general (law and order) Raj Kanojia said “it was a pilot van from Calcutta police that was at the spot and it was in keeping with the arrangement made for the minister”. Kanojia did not identify the minister.
Later in the evening, industry minister Nirupam Sen, who had attended an event in the vicinity of the accident site in the morning, said: “As far as I know, my pilot car was with me. I will have to find out tomorrow if the car had indeed been there.”
He said he had never heard of such “indifference” in Calcutta and was “shocked and saddened”.
Gyanwant Singh, DC (headquarters), however, said: “As far as I know, there was no pilot van from Calcutta police.”
Witnesses said the accident occurred between 9.55 and 10.05am near the Nalban Boating Complex. Bejoy, who had cleared his MCA and was working on an outsourced project for consultancy major PricewaterhouseCoopers for the past year, was heading to his Salt Lake Sector V office on a black Pulsar when he saw the woman. She was clutching at her sari that seemed to be falling off as she tried to cross the road.
Bejoy braked, but a part of the sari got sucked into the front wheel. As the spokes got entwined in the cloth, the bike jerked to a stop. Flung off the bike, the young man was crushed to death by a vehicle coming from behind.
“The police first received information from the officer of the minister’s pilot car at 10.20. A message was then sent to Bidhan Nagar (South) police station and the officer reached the spot by 10.32,” said Ashok Biswas, the additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake.
A journalist from STAR Ananda, a channel owned by the ABP group, publishers of The Telegraph, was the first to call up PWC. This was after he had failed to convince the officer in the pilot van to stop.
Witness Rajendra Rajak said the officer wasn’t the only one guilty of indifference. “No one paused for a second look at the body. The cars just kept speeding away one after the other.”