A cop with a death wish, a botched-up suicide attempt, a misguided bullet flying through the police headquarters and a clumsy cover-up — it was all happening at Lalbazar, a full fortnight ago.
On December 17, Gautam Majumdar, an inspector of the Rapid Action Force (RAF), went into the inspectors’ rest room on the ground floor of the control building, in an acute state of depression. He took out his service revolver, pressed it to his temple and pulled the trigger, revealed a delayed reconstruction of the incident that spilt out into the open on Friday.
But a fraction of a second before firing, Majumdar jerked his head back. The bullet missed him, pierced the thin wood partition of the room, flew into the adjoining chamber (the office of the public relations officer), passed over some unsuspecting heads, before being stopped by a concrete wall.
The police hush-up machinery swung into action. Both the wood partition and the concrete wall were patched up in the room, where journalists spend long hours every day.
Majumdar was transferred to another department soon after the incident, but the truth started filtering out on Friday. “We were in a meeting when we heard a sharp whistling sound,” recounted an employee of the public relations department. “We only realised what it was when the bullet smashed into the concrete wall. Had anyone been standing, it could have proved fatal,” he added.
A spot verification on Friday revealed tell-tale signs of a hole in the thin wood partition — inches below a large framed photograph of Swami Vivekananda — and obvious patchwork on the concrete wall where the bullet had lodged itself. But in the room where Majumdar had tried to take his life, the police cover-up had left a gaping hole on the wall, complete with bullet-burns.
Officials from the public relations office ran into another room immediately after the flying object was identified. And a minute later, news had reached the office of police commissioner Sujoy Chakraborty, who instructed additional commissioner of police Gautam Chakraborty to look into the matter. Chakraborty checked out the rest room and on finding it deserted, directed his officers to trace the person last spotted there.
Majumdar, meanwhile, had run up to the first floor. “We found him sitting in a room. The missing bullet in his service revolver confirmed our suspicion,” said an official at Lalbazar. “He was apparently finding it difficult to cope with the schedule in the RAF due to some physical ailment,” he added.