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Bar footage draws a blank

Madhab Das

The CCTV footage of a bar in Nagerbazar shows Madhab Das, who died after allegedly being assaulted by bouncers, fall off the stairs but what led to the fall remains unclear.

“There was an altercation between some employees and Das, followed by a scuffle,” said Debasish Bej, deputy commissioner of police, detective department, Barrackpore commissionerate. “But it’s not clear from the footage whether Das was pushed by someone before he fell.”

A murder case has been registered based on a complaint by Das’s wife Kanika, who alleged that her husband’s death on Saturday had resulted from injuries suffered at the hands of bouncers at Kingston Bar and Restaurant on Thursday. No one was arrested till late on Sunday.

After news of Madhab’s death spread in his Dum Dum neighbourhood, residents ransacked the bar and tried to set it on fire. The police had to lathicharge the mob to control the situation.

Das, who used to collect payments for cable-connection providers, is reported to have been at the bar from 7pm to 9.30pm on Thursday. Bar employees have told the police that Das had fallen off the stairs and they admitted him to Dum Dum Municipal Hospital. They said they alerted Das’s family members, who shifted him to a nursing home.

Das died around 2pm on Saturday.

“The allegation that bouncers at the bar had assaulted Das is false,” said Mohammad Anisur Jaman, the manager at the bar. “Das drank too much on Thursday night. He did not have any money and got involved in a brawl when he was asked to pay the bill. While being shooed away, Das slipped and fell off the stairs by himself. We have handed over the CCTV footage to police.”

Sources at Dum Dum police station said the footage of three CCTV cameras were examined on Sunday.

“In the footage Das was seen arguing with bar employees at the cash counter. He even entered the kitchen. The footage showed that he was being shooed away by security personnel,” said an officer. “In one footage Das is seen rolling down the stairs. But there is no image of how he fell.”

There are two possibilities, said the officer. “Das either lost balance because of too much drinking or was pushed by bouncers.”