The Trinamul Congress leader from Barasat against whom a college student had lodged a molestation complaint on Sunday was arrested late on Monday, apparently after senior party leaders gave the green light.
The girl’s two brothers, who had allegedly been assaulted while trying to protect her, had been arrested early on Monday on the basis of an FIR lodged an hour after the girl’s complaint.
According to Trinamul sources, there are many allegations of crime against Nikhil Das, the leader, and the party was trying to distance itself from him ahead of the panchayat polls.
Nikhil’s brother Tarak, who had also been named by the student in her FIR, was admitted to hospital after Sunday night’s incident at Bamangachhi. He would be arrested once he was released, police sources indicated.
The molestation complaint lodged against the student’s brothers by a woman on Sunday night named three others. All five were arrested.
The girl’s brothers were picked up around 2am on Monday by a team of officers from Barasat police station, who later arrested three of their friends.
“This is how our police work: they find it difficult to arrest someone we have named in our FIR but readily find reasons to pick up my sons, who had gone out to save my daughter,” said the college student’s mother.
The student had named six in the FIR. The police arrested six: four of those named in the FIR, including Nikhil, and two others. The leader was picked up from his home around 11pm on Monday.
“It is not mandatory to arrest anyone named in an FIR. Our probe is still on and we need to find out who were really involved in the incident before making further arrests,” said a senior officer of Barasat police station.
According to residents of Bamangachhi, a shalishi (arbitration) meeting convened by Nikhil on Sunday evening led to the two complaints. The objective was to persuade residents of the area not to help the police build a case against Somnath Sardar, a relative of the Das brothers who had been arrested in connection with a robbery. The Das brothers believe that one of student’s brothers had helped the cops arrest Sardar.
“The meeting was held on the ground adjoining Young Star Club,” said a youth from the locality.
Sardar, who had been out on bail for 11 days, was also present at the meeting.
The police denied that there was a meeting. “Two groups abused each other and fought after an argument turned violent,” said an officer.
Following the incident, the student lodged the molestation complaint in which she also named Sardar, who has since been arrested.
On Monday, the student said those who had beaten up her brothers were wearing steel “punchers” on their fingers. One of her brothers sustained “deep cuts” on his back. “They attacked with rods and knives and slit the hand of one of my brother with blades,” she said. The girl, a second-year student, said she was felling insecure since some of the accused were at large.