The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Build and sell, pay victim kin
- Cops and leaders bless illegal house

What happens when an accident at the construction site of an illegal building claims the life of a teenager' In the land of lawlessness, a deal is struck the day after at the door to the death trap.

In Tangra police station on Wednesday morning, local politicians and policemen sat at a closed-door meeting and plotted to allow the construction of the illegal building at 50 Kustia Road in the name of compensation to the family of Munna Pandey.

Munna, 18, was cycling to school on Monday morning past the three-storeyed building under construction when an iron rod fell from the roof and pierced his skull.

The Class XII student of National Higher Secondary School, Hazra, died in hospital early on Tuesday.

Wednesday began with protests and roadblocks on Kustia Road, with residents protesting the death of the teenager and demanding a crackdown on illegal constructions that had turned the Topsia into a danger zone.

A civic building department team visited 50 Kustia Road and even gave verbal assurance of its demolition. Six families live on the first and second floors of the building.

Hours later, a build-sale-compensate plan was hatched, allegedly at the initiative of local CPM leader Anil Gupta.

“Gupta, alias Pappu, is the force behind Mushtaque Ahmed, promoter of the illegal building, who is absconding since the accident. So, he stepped in to work out a formula to save the building,” said a witness.

Munna’s elder brother Ashok Pandey was then called to Tangra police station and told that the third floor of 50 Kustia Road would be built and sold. The proceeds of the sale would go to the bereaved family.

Also part of the proposed compensation package would be a shop space on the ground floor of the killer building.

This was confirmed by Ashok. Later, Swapan Pal, officer-in-charge (OC), Tangra police station admitted that a meeting had been held in the thana to sort out the problem.

“We did not propose anything. The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has to take the final decision whether to demolish the illegal building or not,” stressed Pal, adding that the landlord of the building, Raghunandan Roy, was arrested on Wednesday.

He has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and also allowing illegal construction.

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