An assistant sub-inspector allegedly pointed his gun at a counterpart from another police station after a row in public over who should handle an accident case on the Basanti highway near Aquatica on Wednesday afternoon.
Sources said cops from New Town and Calcutta Leather Complex police stations came to blows over jurisdiction following a minor accident involving a car and a motorcycle.
Neither police station eventually made an official entry of the accident because those involved in it agreed not to lodge a complaint.
But three assistant sub-inspectors and a constable allegedly ended up with bloody noses after fighting over the accident.
This ironically happened in a city where the police routinely turn away complainants citing jurisdiction.
Witnesses said the fisticuffs continued for over 15 minutes before senior officers of the two police stations arrived to intervene, only to get embroiled in the altercation.
The clash ended after New Town MLA Sabyasachi Dutta and former Bhangar MLA Arabul Islam arrived at the site and took the feuding officers to New Town police station.
Bidhannagar commissionerate and South 24-Parganas district police have started separate inquiries against assistant sub-inspectors Gauranga Nath of New Town police station and Kazi Jahangir Alam of Calcutta Leather Complex police station. If found guilty, the duo faces suspension or a monitory penalty.
The police said officers of New Town police station had reached the spot at Kochpukur — on the border of the two police station areas — where a car had hit a motorcycle from behind around 12.30pm. The biker, who had suffered bruises, demanded a compensation for the damage to his vehicle.
Sources said the New Town cops had “settled the issue” among those involved in the accident and were about to move out when four policemen from Calcutta Leather Complex police station turned up.
The quartet claimed that the accident occurred in an area under their jurisdiction and questioned the presence of the New Town officers.
“By then, the vehicles involved in the accident had left the spot. But the officers of the two police stations turned against each other and a heated exchange of words soon turned into fisticuffs,” said Shamsul Haq, a green grocer in the area.
“Two officers were hollering and holding each other by their collars when one of them took out his service revolver and pointed at the other,” he added.
Haq was part of the 50-strong crowd that watched the cops fight. Soon officers in charge of both police stations hurried to the spot but even they got engaged in a quarrel, the witnesses said.
About 30 minutes later, New Town MLA Dutta and former legislator Islam arrived and tried to pacify the officers.
“It was not a political issue. I was passing through the area and heard about the incident. I went there to check what happened. It is a minor issue, which keeps happening. It has been settled,” Dutta said.
“There was a slight misunderstanding between the officers. We went there to control the situation. The issue has been settled,” said Islam.
New Town’s jurisdiction ends at a narrow road in Action Area III while Calcutta Leather Complex police station’s begins right from the opposite side of the same road.
The two police stations share responsibility of policing on a large stretch of the Rajarhat-Bhangar road.
The police are known to let offenders in minor accident cases go after imposing a token penalty, which is allegedly often shared by the victims and the cops on duty.
Witnesses said Wednesday’s row was allegedly over a share of the spoils.
An officer from New Town said the cops from his police station often reach the area near Aquatica before their Calcutta Leather Complex counterparts and hand over the cases.
Though a departmental inquiry has been initiated, senior officers called the incident a minor affair.
“There was no exchange of blows. Since a crowd had gathered at the spot, the officer was trying to secure his gun. So he pulled it out of the holster,” said V.S.R. Anant Nag, the additional commissioner of Bidhannagar commissionerate.
Kankar Prasad Barui, the additional superintendent, South 24-Parganas, confirmed that an inquiry has been started against the officers allegedly involved in the row.