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Jurisdiction quibble 36hrs after complaint

A policeman called up Somaditya Kar on Tuesday almost 36 hours after the techie lodged a complaint regarding taxi refusal and harassment by two cops he had approached for help, only to tell him that the alleged incident happened outside the jurisdiction of the traffic guard to which he belonged.

The caller introduced himself as the officer-in-charge of South Traffic Guard and asked Kar where he was refused by taxi drivers before telling him that the spot he mentioned was under the jurisdiction of Headquarters Traffic Guard.

Kar received another call, also from a cop associated with South Traffic Guard. He too asked the techie where the alleged incident had happened. “None of the callers bothered to ask about my plight or about the officer who did not help me on the spot,” said Kar.

Metro reported on Tuesday how Kar and his wife Sinjini were refused by a number of taxi drivers at Esplanade around 10pm on Sunday, when they wanted to go to Salt Lake. One of the drivers dared the couple to approach the police.

The situation worsened for the two after a cop on duty intervened. Instead of booking the driver for refusing them, he said the cabbie has the right to refuse passengers after 8pm and the couple could lodge a complaint at the helpline, 1073.

“The first caller on Tuesday said he was the officer-in-charge of South traffic guard and asked me the location of the incident. The moment I answered, he sounded relieved. He told me that the spot was not under his jurisdiction, but under Headquarters Traffic Guard,” said Kar.

Both callers had disconnected with the assurance that Kar will get a call from Headquarters Traffic Guard but he did not till late on Tuesday.

Joint commissioner (traffic) Supratim Sarkar said: “We are looking into the matter. It appears that since the incident happened after 10pm, the accused officer might not be a traffic cop and attached with the local Hare Street police station.”

Sarkar added that efforts are being made to nab the taxi driver, who had dared Kar to lodge a police complaint, by tracking the registration number of his vehicle.

The police’s attitude has disheartened the techie. “I am losing hope. The cops have not done anything acting on my Facebook complaint,” said the 29-year-old, who works in the Sector V office of an MNC.

Sources in the traffic department said traffic cops are present at major crossings till midnight. “The ‘non-traffic’ hours begin at midnight and end at 6am. It is unlikely that there was no traffic cop at the Esplanade crossing between 10.05pm and 10.30pm, when the incident happened,” said an officer in the department.

Some cops wondered what was stopping their superiors from identifying the accused officer. “It takes only a couple of minutes to find out who was on duty at Esplanade on Sunday night. It is possible that the officer is from Headquarters Traffic Guard since he was standing near the kiosk opposite the KC Das crossing, which is under Headquarters guard,” said an officer.

The spot on the other side of the road — in front of Metro cinema — to which the officer walked on being called by Kar, is under the jurisdiction of South Traffic Guard, said the officer.