Chinsurah, Feb. 22: Five men travelling in a Tata Sumo with a police sticker were beaten up by villagers and handed over to real police last night after they stopped a bus and were mistaken for bandits.
The five, in their 30s and residents of Salkia in Howrah, had gone to attend a Kali Puja in Hooghlys Janai.
On the way back, the minibus carrying guests from a wedding allegedly overtook their vehicle so dangerously that it almost veered off the highway near Dankuni, about 30km from Calcutta.
In a fit of rage, the Sumo driver overtook the mini and blocked its way. The five went up to the bus driver and accused him of rash driving after identifying themselves as policemen. The women in the bus, however, raised the alarm thinking robbers had stopped them. Hearing them scream for help, villagers rushed in. The youths, hiding inside the Sumo then, were dragged out and beaten up. Their vehicles windows were smashed, said a police officer.
Apart from the police sticker, the Sumo had a plate with RBI written on it and a red light under the bonnet.
The quintet held have been identified as Surajit Patra, Jitendra Singh, Pancha Mondal, Nagendra Singh and Mohammad Mohsin.
They told us they were car pool contractors of the Reserve Bank (RBI) and the sti- ckers were there because the Sumo often carried policemen trailing RBI cash vans. They told us the red light was there for the same reason. However, we have started a probe to find out whether they are telling us the truth, said Arijit Dasgupta, the officer in charge of Dankuni police station.
The five, charged with po-sing as policemen, have been remanded in jail custody by a Hooghly court.