A girl who took admission to Syamaprasad College on Tuesday evening lodged a police complaint accusing two second-year students, allegedly Trinamul supporters, of trying to extort money from her and preventing her from going home when she resisted.
Riyanka Das said the two senior students and some others had detained her on the road outside the campus from 6pm to 8pm in an attempt to force her fork out Rs 5,000 she had agreed to pay if they ensured her admission to Syamaprasad College, the evening section of Asutosh College.
“I got in touch with the duo on June 27, after I failed to make it to the history honours merit list. They identified themselves as Trinamul Congress Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) activists,” Riyanka, a resident of Bansdroni in south Calcutta, said.
“I sought their help in getting admitted to the college. They promised me admission in the BA general course against a payment of Rs 5,000. I agreed to pay the amount in instalments.”
She applied to the BA general course and made it to the merit list. “After I took admission on Tuesday, the two second-year students and their accomplices asked me to pay the entire amount on the spot. When I refused, they started harassing me,” Riyanka said.
The duo allegedly accosted her when she came out of an annexe of the college on Rajeswar Dasgupta Road, about 100 metres from the main campus on SP Mukherjee Road, after completing the admission formalities around 6pm.
Riyanka, whose father works as a guard, preferred an evening college because she wants to take up a part-time job to support her family.
She said when she told the seniors that she could not pay Rs 5,000 immediately, they asked her to take them out for a beer. “They told me to get on a bike that was parked there. After I refused, they prevented me from leaving the spot. Four-five other youths joined the two and surrounded me.”
As it was getting late, the girl requested the youths to let her call up an elder cousin so that the money could be arranged and handed over to them. “I said my cousin was waiting near Basusree cinema in Bhowanipore. They allowed me to go. While I was walking towards the cinema, the duo kept tailing me. When I reached Bhowanipore police station, I ran inside and narrated the incident to an officer,” said the student.
Riyanka’s father later came to the police station to take her home.
A college official said Riyanka had made it to the list on the strength of her marks and there was no irregularity in her admission. “She did not need to approach anybody for admission to the BA general course,” said the official.
Following the complaint from the girl, the two second-year students were slapped with extortion, wrongful restraint, criminal intimidation, stalking and common intention. Out of those sections, extortion is a non-bailable offence.
The two were not arrested till late on Wednesday. Police said raids conducted at their homes in Port area and south Calcutta drew a blank.
Sources said the duo had turned up in Alipore court on Wednesday, apparently to surrender and seek bail. They however left without appearing before a magistrate.
“According to the complaint we received, the girl was admitted at Syamaprasad College after she paid Rs 3,000 to two students. But they demanded another Rs 5000 that the girl refused to pay when they tried to keep her captive till she arranged for the money,” said an officer of Bhowanipore police station.
A college principal said Rs 3,000 is the one-time fee a student has to pay to get admission to a college.
The police officer added it is unlikely that the duo could have got bail for an offence as serious as extortion.
Cash-for-seat complaints against Trinamul student wing men for securing unauthorised admission is not new.
About a fortnight back a group of student has alleged that they had to pay a Nadia district TMCP leader to secure unauthorised admission at a private BEd college.
Though two students have been named in FIR, there were several other TMCP members disallowing her to leave the college, said Riyanka.
The TMCP state secretary Sujit Sam however denied the charge that the accused students are members of the TMCP.
Education minister Partha Chatterjee said he has sought a report from the principal of Syamaprasad College over the complaint. “While probing we will not go by any political colours,” said Chatterjee.
The college principal, Joydeep Jana, said he has sent a report to the higher education department after he came to know about the complaint. He said he had to check records to be sure if the two accused are students of the college.