Malda, Sept. 3: An assistant sub-inspector in charge of a police outpost in Harishchandrapur and a home guard allegedly assaulted a truck driver who refused to pay a bribe and sped away with the vehicle today.
The ASI, Sanath Biswas, and home guard Suresh Sarkar were gheraoed by a mob and confined to a local club. The duo were rescued after three hours by a large police force from the Harishchandrapur police station.
The incident took place around noon near the police outpost at Bhaluka on the Malda-Harishchandrapur state highway, about 60km from here.
According to local people, police at the Bhaluka outpost frequently stop trucks and demand bribes from the drivers. “It was around noon when Abu Barkat who was driving a truck laden with sand was stopped. We saw the truck suddenly speed away. But the officer and the home guard chased the truck on a motorbike and managed to stop it less than 500m from the spot. They dragged out the driver and beat him up. I and others gathered at the spot. When we asked why the driver was being beaten up, the officer tried to evade the question and asked us to take him to the hospital,” said Thikaram Das.
However, the villagers were told by the driver that he had been thrashed because he had refused to pay money to the police. “Then, the crowd surrounded the officer and the home guard. When the officer tried to flee, the people grabbed the duo and confined them to a roadside club. The mob blocked the highway and demonstrated against the police. It was around 3.30pm when a large police force came to the spot and took the duo away,” he said.
Abu Barkat has been admitted to the Malda Medical College and Hospital.
At the hospital, Barkat, 27, said he had been thrashed as he had refused to pay the ASI and his men Rs 100.
“I was driving the truck with sand from Birbhum. When I showed the police all the documents and challan, they insisted that I pay up. I refused to pay as I was not doing anything illegal.”
Biswas denied that he had beaten up anyone.
“The truck driver had flouted traffic rules and we chased and caught him. No one beat him up. We didn’t demand money from him either,” said the ASI.
Babin Mukherjee, the inspector-in-charge of Harishchandrapur police station, said an inquiry was being conducted into the incident.