Four youths were arrested in the chief minister’s backyard on Sunday for allegedly assaulting a youth over what police claimed was a rivalry between two Trinamul factions involved in the business of supplying construction materials.
Asim Ghosh, in his early 30s, was allegedly assaulted near a gurdwara on Harish Mukherjee Road, about 2km from chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s house on Harish Chatterjee Street in Kalighat.
Asim said he earned his living as a newspaper hawker and property broker. Neighbours claimed he was a member of one of the groups involved in the business of supplying construction materials.
“Everyone knows I am a Trinamul worker and those who beat me up are criminals. I have lodged a complaint with Bablu Singh, the president of the block 71 committee of Trinamul,” said Asim, also known as Moyna in the area.
The mother of Vicky Shaw — one of the arrested youths — said her son is a Trinamul worker. “My son has been with Trinamul for many years. Asim, being new to the party, does not like my son’s popularity. So he has falsely implicated Vicky,” she said.
Asim — with blackened eyes, a stitch on the forehead and a bandage on his right hand — said a group of youths attacked him around midnight on Sunday.
“A lorry carrying sand was coming to my house when it was stopped near the gurdwara. I had bought the sand for some construction at my house. The driver called me and when I went there, Somu Mistry, who was waiting at the spot, told me that I have to pay Rs 1 lakh to let the lorry pass,” Asim said.
“Within five minutes, Vicky arrived and hit me on the head with the butt of a revolver. Others kicked and punched me before police arrived and rescued me.”
Vicky, Somu and two other youths — Santu and Amit Rajak — were arrested based on Asim’s complaint.
Transport minister Madan Mitra saw the assault while passing by the spot and alerted Bhowanipore police station. Soon a police vehicle arrived.
“It was late at night and I was on my way home to Bhowanipore with my family when I spotted the scuffle. Since the spot was near SSKM Hospital, I thought it was under the jurisdiction of Bhowanipore police station and called the officer-in-charge,” said Mitra.
The spot is under Kalighat police station.
Police sources said the youths who had attacked Asim belong to Mitra’s camp in the party. Asim, they said, is close to Kartik Banerjee, the chief minister’s brother and a key Trinamul leader in the area.
Mitra denied having known the alleged assaulter. “The problem is everyone claims to be my man. What can I do?” Mitra said. Banerjee refused to comment.
An officer of Kalighat police station said Vicky and Asim belong to different groups involved in the business of supplying construction materials. “The groups are not ready to share the spoils and that results in frequent fights between them,” he said.
“At least 12 groups, each comprising 15-20 men, are involved in the business in the Bhowanipore, Tollygunge, Charu Market and Kalighat areas. The men are all Trinamul activists. The groups are competing with each other to grab the lion’s share of the business,” said an officer. Trinamul faction feud over supply of building materials are common in several areas, including Rajarhat and Beleghata.