Police commissioner Surajit Kar Purkayastha salutes a photograph of Tapas Chowdhury at the slain sub-inspector’s house on Friday. (Sayantan Ghosh)
Slain sub-inspector Tapas Chowdhury’s widow has complained to the new police commissioner against the officer-in-charge of Behala police station, whose alleged misbehaviour had forced her husband to seek a transfer that turned out to be fatal.
“He was mentally tortured by the officer-in-charge when he was at Behala police station. The torture forced my husband to seek a transfer. He was so upset that at one point he even considered quitting the job,” Minati Chowdhury told Surajit Kar Purkayastha when he called on the bereaved family on Friday afternoon.
A relative said Kar Purkayastha told the family members that he knew about the incident and would look into it. “Let me see,” a relative quoted the police commissioner as saying.
Minati also asked the top cop why her husband was sent unarmed to the violence-prone area. “The police commissioner said he had just taken charge and would need some time to look into the matter before saying anything,” said Chowdhury’s daughter Tanushree.
The sub-inspector’s son Tamal, who has been suffering from fever since Thursday, wanted to talk to Kar Purkayastha but did not get an opportunity. “I wanted to request him (police commissioner) to ensure that my father’s killer get the harshest punishment. But before I could speak many people came into the room and I did not feel like talking,” Tamal said.
Chowdhury, as a representative of the special branch, had been a divisional officer at Behala police station since its merger with Calcutta police in September 2011 till January last year. The special branch unit at the police station was tasked with gathering intelligence and looking into the antecedents of passport applicants from Behala.
Sources said Chowdhury was often publicly humiliated by OC Sudipta Nag. “Once the OC had come to the police station in plainclothes and my brother and six of his subordinates had not got up and saluted him. This infuriated the OC so much that he threw a chair at my brother and asked him to leave the police station,” said the slain officer’s cousin, Debdas Chowdhury.
According to rules, a cop need not salute a superior in plainclothes.
The family said that after the incident, Chowdhury was regularly humiliated and forced to stay out of the police station for several days till he and his team moved to the adjacent Parnasree police station.
The humiliation forced Chowdhury to approach a senior officer at Lalbazar and seek a transfer. His plea was granted and he was shifted to the Lord Sinha Road office of the special branch.
Nag denied the allegation. “He was in a different department and I had no issues with him. He had a routine transfer and I had nothing to do with it,” said Nag.
Kar Purkayastha refused comment when asked about the complaint. His meeting with the Chowdhurys lasted eight minutes and ended abruptly with the arrival of mayor Sovan Chatterjee and a host of Trinamul functionaries.
The family members followed Kar Purkayastha out of the room while Chatterjee was inside. “Leaders have been visiting us since morning. For how long can we defer the puja? The kids are falling sick,” said a relative who forced the family head for a nearby pond for the rituals.
Chatterjee sat for some time and left after garlanding a photograph of the sub-inspector.