Calcutta, Oct. 2: A former star defender with the Big Two on the Maidan was defenceless last night when accosted by youths demanding money in South 24-Parganas.
Aloke Das, who had played for both Mohun Bagan and East Bengal in the 1990s, was heckled and his driver injured at Dakshin Gazipur on way back to Calcutta after inaugurating a Durga puja.
Sibsankar Mondal, the driver, was hospitalised with gashes on his forehead. Doctors at the hospital in Basirhat said his condition was critical.
An officer of the Kashipur police outpost in Bhangor, 60 km from Calcutta and on the intersection of the two Parganas, said when Das was going to Haroa in North 24-Parganas to inaugurate the puja, a gang of youths demanded money. They claimed that it was for the treatment of a friend who had broken his leg.
Das did not respond to their pleas but he was allowed to go. On his way back, the same group tried to stop his car. The driver tried to speed away but some of the youths clung to the doors. One of them was injured, an alarm was raised and the entire gang gave the car a chase. Brickbats were hurled and the windscreen was smashed.
The mob dispersed after spotting a car coming from the opposite direction.
When the youths fled, Das and his bleeding driver came out shaken. Darkness had descended by then and some of the residents walked up to ask what had happened.
They helped the footballer to a nearby teastall and provided first-aid. Das narrated what he went through and the villagers gave him a list of youths who could be involved.
Twelve persons were arrested. Six of them were named in the FIR. Das and his driver lodged separate complaints with the police. Additional superintendent, rural, B. Garg said: “Immediately after the complaint was lodged, officers went to the area and picked up a dozen youths. We are searching for two youths who are absconding.”