Mamata Banerjee pays tribute to the slain sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury at his Thakurpukur home on Thursday afternoon. Picture by Sanat Kr. Sinha
Sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury could still have been alive had he not sought a transfer from Behala police station, where he was allegedly harassed by one of his superiors.
Sources say there are many allegations against the superior — an inspector — but he has emerged unscathed on every occasion because of his proximity to a Trinamul leader with Tollywood links.
“Tapas had sought a transfer from Behala police station because he had some problems with a senior officer there. He had reported the matter to joint commissioner (intelligence) Parthasarathi Ghosh,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar.
When contacted, Ghosh refused to comment on the issue.
Chowdhury had been a divisional officer at Behala police station since its merger with Calcutta police in September 2011 till January this year.
Sources said that during the period, the inspector often publicly humiliated Chowdhury over “trivial matters”.
“He was once humiliated for not saluting the inspector, who was not in his uniform,” said a officer at the police station. Sources who know police rules pointed out that it was not mandatory for Chowdhury to salute the inspector when he was not in uniform.
Making an issue out of the incident, the senior officer allegedly forced Chowdhury and his subordinates from the special branch, whose duty was to look into the antecedents of passport applicants from Behala, to move out of the police station.
“The special branch representatives were initially given a desk in the processing section of the police station. But after the row over saluting, the inspector ordered Chowdhury and his subordinates out of the police station. When Chowdhury reported the matter to his superiors at the special branch office on Lord Sinha Road, the inspector lodged a counter-complaint, seeking disciplinary action against Chowdhury and his colleagues,” said an officer who was posted at Behala police station when the incident occurred last year.
In an unprecedented move, the entire special branch unit — every police station has such a unit to gather intelligence — was shifted to the adjoining Parnasree police station.
Chowdhury was called to the office of the joint commissioner (intelligence), where he reportedly narrated the inspector’s misbehaviour and sought a transfer.
Chowdhury’s wish was granted and he was shifted to the Lord Sinha Road office of the special branch early this year but the unit was not called back to Behala police station. “It still functions from Parnasree police station. This shows the clout the inspector carries with the top brass because of his links with the influential Trinamul leader,” said a source.
“Such is the inspector’s influence that he had even defied an order from the top cop’s office of his transfer to a police station in the eastern suburban division. He refused to move out and, surprisingly, a new order was issued within 24 hours, allowing him to be at Behala police station,” said a police officer.