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Onboard catch in plot case

- Majmudar accused of eviction role
(Top) Parag Majmudar on Tuesday, a day before his arrest; the office of Ritman House, Majmudar’s real estate company, on 14 Syed Amir Ali Avenue. The Calcutta office of Heartline Estate, which purportedly bought 9A Short Street from Sailabala Sein, is also located in the same building.
Picture by Sanjoy Ghosh

Calcutta, Nov. 13: Flight 9W 624 to Mumbai was 15 minutes from take-off when two officials told the passenger on 11B: “Sir, you can’t fly.”

Parag Majmudar, the passenger, was formally arrested in the terminal on the charge of planning the trespass into a playschool compound on Short Street where two bouncers were gunned down on Monday.

Construction firm owner Majmudar had said on Monday and yesterday that he had played conduit in the sale of 9A Short Street to industrialist Sanjay Sureka who could not take possession because of other claimants staying on the premises.

“Majmudar, 45, has been arrested on the charge of criminal conspiracy that led to the trespassing. We have got ample evidence to prove his direct involvement in this case,” said joint commissioner (crime) Pallab Kanti Ghosh.

If the charges against Majmudar — trespassing, unlawful assembly, criminal conspiracy — are proved, he could be jailed for up to 14 years.

Majmudar, who had held a news conference yesterday to say that “his brief association” with 9A Short Street “was as a mediator helping Heartline Estate find a buyer in 2011”, bought the one-way ticket to Mumbai at 10.20am this morning.

Police have found that after a two-day stay in Mumbai, he had planned to fly to Goa on November 17, for which he had already purchased the flight tickets.

His passport has been seized and police feel he would have proceeded to Malaysia where he has two factories. “His ticket was booked by a Delhi-based travel agency and the ticket cost him Rs 7,418. A one-way ticket indicates he had not planned a return journey immediately,” an officer said.

Majmudar’s Facebook profile lists “likes” on communities like “Kolkata Bouncers” and “Kolkata Police”. But Majmudar, the chairman and managing director of Ritman Infra, had yesterday denied any role in sending the musclemen to the Short Street premises. “Sureka purchased the property from Heartline. As a mediator, I put the two in touch…. My role ends here,” he had said.

Heartline’s Calcutta office is located in a building on 14 Syed Amir Ali Avenue near Park Circus, whose entrance has a big board that says “Ritman House”. Ritman, the company of Majmudar, is also housed in the same building.

The police claimed to have found evidence suggesting Majmudar, a resident of an apartment on AJC Bose Road, had entrusted a senior official of Heartline — Pinakesh Dutta — to vacate the plot on Short Street.

Dutta, a resident of Patuli, had reportedly left home on Monday morning around 9am and remained “untraced” till Wednesday night. Dutta had allegedly engaged lawyer Partha Chatterjee and Active Securities, owned by Arup Debnath, for the eviction.

“According to Chatterjee, Pinakesh Dutta had contacted him and Arup Debnath for the job. We have reasons to believe that Dutta had engaged the bouncers and security officials on the instructions of Majmudar,” said an officer.

The police are also looking for a former director of Heartline Estate — Rajesh Damani — who according to them was in charge of “arranging logistics” for ensuring a “hassle-free” eviction.

Damani, a resident of Howrah, was the signing authority of Heartline Estate in 1999 when it had purportedly bought the property from Sailabala Sein.

Majmudar was peacefully settled in his 11B seat on the Jet Airways flight 9W 624 when two airline security personnel, dressed in white shirts and blue trousers, approached him and requested him to get down from the aircraft.

He was asked to accompany them while other passengers were still boarding through the aerobridge.

“Majmudar did not protest or resist. He quietly got up from his seat, took the cabin luggage and walked through the aerobridge to the terminal’s first-floor boarding area where plainclothed police officers were waiting,” said an airport official.

Sources said he had checked in luggage weighing 10kg and a light cabin bag.

According to sources in the airport, Majmudar had checked in early — at 1.30pm at the Jet Airways counter — for the 3.50pm flight.

He had spent time at the security hold area and then boarded the flight around 3.05pm. Sources said he was “one of the passengers who boarded early”.

At 3.10pm, officers from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), the paramilitary outfit in charge of the airport’s security, and the state intelligence branch alerted Jet about the passenger who was to be arrested.

It was then that the two security personnel from Jet went aboard.

His baggage, which had also been loaded into the aircraft’s belly, had to be off loaded. The flight took off on time, said airport officials.