| Rupjyoti Kurmi |
Jorhat, Aug. 21: Mariani Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi has again courted controversy, with police registering a case against him and his personal security officer for allegedly assaulting a police driver last night.
Police sources said the case (number 159) was registered at Mariani police station on the basis of an FIR lodged by the driver, constable Kamal Mohan, who alleged that Kurmi and his PSO Dipu Saikia beat him up late last night near Kathanibari tea estate on the Jorhat-Mariani road. Mohan is undergoing treatment at the Jorhat Medical College and Hospital.
The accused have been booked under Sections 341 (wrongful restraint), 294 (obscene act in a public place), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from duty) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC.
According to the FIR, Mohan was driving a police truck (As-30-0366) from Jorhat to Mariani to ferry police personnel to Dibrugarh. Around 12.10am, Kurmi’s car and an escort vehicle came from Mariani side and crossed the truck near the tea estate, narrowly escaping a collision. The two vehicles then turned around and forced Mohan to stop the truck.
The legislator and his security officer allegedly charged Mohan of drink driving, almost causing a fatal accident in which Kurmi could have lost his life. Mohan alleged that the duo subsequently assaulted him and left him with a heavily bleeding nose.
The driver denied he was drunk and was driving recklessly. He had instead made way for Kurmi’s vehicle.
Kurmi, however, has strongly denied beating up the driver. Alleging that it was a conspiracy to frame him in a false case, the legislator admitted that his security officer had slapped Mohan when the latter misbehaved with him in a drunken state and used abusive language. He alleged that Mohan was talking to someone while driving the truck, which Mohan has denied.
The MLA said he was returning home from Gabharu tea estate after distributing torchlights among the workers. Near Kathanibari, his vehicle had to skid off the road to escape from being hit by the speeding police truck, which did not make way to let his vehicle pass.
“I saved the driver from being attacked and the truck from being set on fire by local people. My PSO and Mohan had said sorry to each other,” Kurmi said.
The legislator has also lodged an FIR, alleging that there was a conspiracy to kill him and has sought a probe.
Additional director-general of police (law and order) A.P. Rout who came here from Guwahati last night to take stock of the situation arising out of the police firing on Sunday, told The Telegraph that the case involving the MLA was being investigated. He said action would be initiated against the accused if it was found the allegations to be true. “Nobody is above the law,” Rout said.
He said according to information available here, Mohan was not a drinker and a medical test report would make the picture clear.
Earlier today, Rout visited Deberapara police outpost under Mariani police station and interacted with policemen who were on duty on Sunday night. He also had discussions with the district’s top police and civil officials and reviewed the progress of the investigation into the firing case.
Rout said action would be taken against the policemen involved if was found that they had resorted to unwarranted firing.
Moreover, a magisterial probe into the incident, carried out by additional deputy commissioner Dhiren Hazarika, has been completed and the report submitted to Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant this evening.
Kurmi, who has been very vocal against the police firing on Sunday, in which a school student was killed and another student injured, has been in the middle of controversies for the past few years.
Earlier this month, his supporters had blocked the Jorhat-Mariani road and stopped trains at Mariani station after he alleged that the new Jorhat deputy commissioner had “neglected” him and refused to meet him when he sought an appointment along with few zila parishad office-bearers.
In 2011, Kurmi and some supporters had gone to a vehicle dealer’s showroom-cum-workshop here, where he had given his personal vehicle for repairing, and had a scuffle with the staff.