Hooghly, March 26: School education minister Iva De’s son, Arnab, and a friend were beaten up by policemen in Serampore last night for refusing to bribe them after the duo was caught riding a motorcycle without valid pollution control papers.
Five policemen — two sub-inspectors, two constables and the driver of a police vehicle — were suspended today, Hooghly superintendent of police Ajay Kumar said.
“We have asked the sub-divisional police officer of Chandernagore (Ashesh Biswas) to handle the probe,” he added.
De said she was shocked at the turn of events. “They should be given exemplary punishment for beating two young men who tried to protest a wrong-doing,” the minister said.
“Our chief minister has asked everyone to protest against such wrong-doers,” De added, but refused to comment on whether the incident could be viewed as another black mark on the administration.
Hooghly CPM district secretariat member Sunil Sarkar, too, demanded punishment for the policemen.
Trinamul Congress MP from Serampore Akbar Ali Khondkar, however, alleged that the minister’s son was also to blame.“Policemen are not fools that they will beat up a minister’s son without reason,” he said, adding that the incident “definitely” showed the CPM-controlled administration in “very poor light”.
Last evening, Arnab and his friend, Malay Mukherjee, were returning to their Bhadreshwar residence from Janai via the Tarakeshwar-Baidyabati Road on the former’s motorcycle when they were apprehended by a police vehicle at Dirghangi More in Serampore, reportedly for travelling without pollution-control documents.
Another youth had been apprehended before and he “paid his way through” for a similar offence, sources in De’s family said. The two friends, too, were warned that they would suffer if they did not cough up a suitable payment.
When Arnab and Malay — who was pillion-riding — protested, they were pinned to the ground and kicked on their heads, shoulders and backs, according to their complaint to the police.
After a few seconds, they revealed Arnab’s identity — that he was a minister’s son — and the beating stopped. The two friends then left for home from where they were taken to a nursing home.
A written complaint was filed today by De’s family. It helped that Arnab and Malay managed to note the names of the two sub-inspectors, which made identification of the culprits easy, officials said. “All five who were identified today have been suspended and a probe is on that will also check whether there were any more policemen involved in the incident,” one of them said.