The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Road Romeos aim too high
- Flurry of police activity after eve-teasing complaint

Calcutta, Dec. 23: Police today arrested four youths and were looking for two more after complaints lodged over the phone with Gariahat police station alleged that they had misbehaved with chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s daughter, Suchetana.

The four arrested youths were produced at Alipore court and were remanded in police custody till December 28.

No senior official would acknowledge that the youths were picked up for teasing the chief minister’s daughter and insisted that the arrests were part of a “routine raid targeting thieves”. No official communique mentioned anything about the “eve-teasing incident”.

But those handling the case said in private conversations that the arrests were made after “some lewd comments” were directed at Suchetana while she was returning to her Palm Avenue residence from a friend’s place in Gariahat.

Senior officials would not explain why Calcutta police breached the jurisdiction of South 24-Parganas police to enter Tiljala to catch some “mere thieves”. South 24-Parganas officials washed their hands of, saying they were in the dark about the operation “if it took place at all”.

The version offered by those handling the case, however, suggests the arrests occurred after a phone call from the chief minister’s residence last evening.

According to a reconstruction of the events of Sunday night, Suchetana — a student of Presidency College — was returning home from her friend’s place near the Gariahat crossing.

As she crossed the road, a group of youths standing near a bus stop close to the junction made some comments.

Suchetana went home and the first call at Gariahat police station came around 10.30 pm. Security guards at the chief minister’s residence called and the police swung into action immediately.

Senior officials first went to Gariahat police station, seeking to know the whereabouts of the youths — known faces in the area — and their antecedents. The hunt then led to Tiljala from where the first youth, 22-year-old Rabi Sankar Singh, was picked up.

“Intense interrogation” led to the residences of the three others arrested — Chandan Paria, Satish Mallik and Bikash Porel — all between 18 and 20 years old. The hunt for the two others involved in the incident was on, the officers added.

Officially, however, the arrested youths are just thieves. “We picked up four burglars involved in a series of incidents in the area,” deputy commissioner (south) Kuldip Singh said. Case No. 288 shows the youths booked under sections 457 and 380.

South 24-Parganas additional superintendent of police (industrial) claimed to know even less. “Nothing has come to me,” he said.

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