The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cop demoted for assault

A year and a half after a blind girl, Rita Sau, 20, and her parents were assaulted while on a picnic by a policeman, Dhruvajyoti Banerjee, and his friends, justice was finally done on Monday.

Inspector-general of police, south Bengal, N.R. Das, said a special police inquiry found Banerjee guilty of having assaulted the girl and her family.

“We have initiated departmental proceedings against him and there is enough evidence to suggest that he had beaten up the blind girl and her parents,’’ Das said.

Police said Banerjee has been demoted to the lowest salary grade in his section and will not be promoted for the next five years. He will also not be assigned any “important law-and-order assignment”.

Till last week, Banerjee was heading the elite special operation group of Howrah police. He was instrumental in detecting landmines inside a Paschim Midnapore-bound bus in Howrah.

An earlier police inquiry had exonerated Banerjee of the crime. But the blind girl had petitioned Writers’ Buildings. Then director-general of police Dinesh Vajpai had directed his department to reopen the file and start the probe anew.

Banerjee has protested the departmental action, saying it was “vindictive and malicious”. He has moved the state administrative tribunal (SAT) against the order.

SAT sources said the matter would come up for hearing within the next two months.

According to police investigations, on January 8 last year, Banerjee had gone to Tarapith with his friends. Rita, her father Mewalal and mother were having a meal close to the spot where Banerjee was with his friends.

Following a dispute over throwing food packets, Banerjee hit Mewalal. The blind girl, sensing trouble, tried to protest, but Banerjee allegedly beat her up too.

Local people rescued Rita and her parents, who were bleeding profusely and had to be taken to hospital.

Mewalal registered a case against Banerjee at the local police station. When a police team led by the sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) went to probe the incident and question Banerjee, he misbehaved with them.

Peeved, the SDPO complained against Banerjee to the district police headquarters. Despite “evidence suggesting that he was guilty’’, Banerjee was let off with a warning as he was “well-connected”, sources said.

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