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Five held for puja extortion

The secretary of a Kali Puja organising committee and four other members were arrested in Sarsuna on Friday for allegedly trying to extort Rs 1,000 from a couple who did not want to pay more than Rs 250.

Police said five persons led by Sujan Mondal, a member of the Jibanananda Nagar Kali Puja committee, had visited the home of Prithviraj Agrohi on Sonamukhi Link Road in the morning.“The five had an altercation with Prithviraj, a hawker, and his wife Usha after the couple refused to give them Rs 1,000,” said an officer of Thakurpukur police station.

Prithviraj was allegedly assaulted by one of the puja organisers. “The couple lodged a complaint with the police immediately after the Puja organisers left,” the officer added.

A team picked up the five, including Uttam Mondal, the secretary of the puja committee, and Sujan Mondal, who allegedly assaulted Prithviraj, soon after.

The five have been booked under sections for extortion, rioting and voluntarily causing hurt. Earlier this week, police commissioner R.K. Pachnanda had instructed the officers-in-charge of the 65 police stations to treat complaints of extortion “with promptness”.