NK Prasad with wife Shashi Kala Devi at their Ranchi residence on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
An elderly couple was locked for hours inside their Ranchi home, barely 2km from the local police station, by their tenant over a long-standing dispute over rent.
The incident, which took place on Sunday night, was brought to The Telegraph’s notice on Tuesday after Argora police allegedly refused to lodge an FIR in the matter.
Seventy-one-year-old Nawal Kishore Prasad — a former senior audit officer at the accountant-general’s office — had rented out a part of his AG Co-operative Colony house to Kumar Achutanand and his family of three (wife and two children) in January 2011.
“He (Achutanand) had introduced himself as an official of the transport department and we had agreed on a monthly rent of Rs 7,000. But, he stopped paying after three months. I was threatened with dire consequences every time I requested him to pay up,” the senior citizen, who lives with wife Shashi Kala Devi, said.
Around 10.30pm on Sunday, when a visitor came knocking on their door, Prasad realised that the main grille gate to his residence was locked from outside. “He confined us with ill intention. Local residents saved us,” the septuagenarian said.
A neighbour, not willing to be named, confirmed the couple’s ordeal. “Achutanand had put four locks on the gate. When they (Prasad and his wife) cried for help, we mounted pressure on the tenant. He came out with the keys and reasoned that he was concerned about his landlord’s security at night. We know better,” he said.
Prasad, who was initially jittery to talk to the media after the police snub, admitted that he feared for his and his wife’s safety if Achutanand was not taken to task.
“I had approached Argora police on Monday morning with five witnesses. But, the officer, instead of registering my FIR, asked me to compromise with the situation,” the elderly man said.
When contacted, Achutanand parried questions, saying he was not in a position to talk. “I am unwell. Doctor has advised complete bed rest. Call me later. Or, maybe, I will personally contact you at your office to discuss the matter,” he kept it short.
Argora OC Pradeep Kumar Das confirmed that there was a long-standing dispute over rent between Prasad and his tenant, but he evaded queries on why an FIR was not registered in the wake of Sunday’s confinement.