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Salt Lake molesters in uniform in 14-day judicial custody

A woman from Asansol mentioned in her complaint that ASI Sandip Kumar Pal and civic volunteer Abhishek Malakar molested her while giving her a lift on a bike in Salt Lake early on Saturday

Snehal Sengupta | Published 14.12.21, 12:32 PM
Representational image.

Representational image.

File photo

The assistant sub-inspector and civic volunteer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate who were arrested for allegedly molesting a 25-year-old woman have been remanded in 14-day judicial custody.

The woman from Asansol mentioned in her complaint that ASI Sandip Kumar Pal and civic volunteer Abhishek Malakar molested her while giving her a lift on a bike in Salt Lake early on Saturday. 

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Pal and Malakar were produced before Santanu Ganguly, the additional chief judicial magistrate of the Bidhannagar court in Mayukh Bhavan, on Monday. 

“The victim had no option but to approach a police officer and his team for her safety at such an hour. The policemen were the safest people she could have gone to for help. However, she has complained that she was molested while she was sitting on the bike,” the magistrate said while hearing the case.

He also asked lawyers Avishek Mukherjee and Pabitra Biswas, who appeared for the accused, why the men in uniform had not booked an app cab for the complainant as requested by her or arranged a police vehicle with women personnel for her, and instead offered her a ride on a motorcycle.

“The men were in uniform. Did they not even feel uneasy asking the woman to sit between two men?... They could have also informed the nearest police station but chose not to do so,” Ganguly said.

According to an officer of the Bidhannagar commissionerate, the woman in her complaint mentioned that she had approached the policemen after spotting them near the Karunamoyee bus terminus.

The woman got off a bus from Asansol at Karunamoyee past midnight and approached the police personnel as she was unable to find any transport to reach a relative’s house in Garfa off Jadavpur in south Kolkata. 

She mentioned in her complaint that she had been touched inappropriately during the ride from Karunamoyee till an EM Bypass crossing near Mani Square. 

“Pal had got off the motorcycle, which was being driven by Malakar, near police barracks on Kestopur Canal Side Road, but minutes later he again sat on the bike. The woman has mentioned in her complaint that she thought her ordeal was over but Pal again sat on the bike and started touching her inappropriately,” the officer said.

In the court, counsel for the accused said the woman had levelled false allegations against the two.

Lawyer Mukherjee said the woman had mentioned in the complaint that she was taken to an “isolated police station" before being dropped at the Bypass crossing.

“If she was being molested on the moving bike, why did she not get down at the police station and file a complaint there. She could have raised an alarm there,” Mukherjee said.

Public prosecutor Shabir Ali submitted that Pal told the woman while on the bike that he would get down soon and the civic volunteer would drop her.

Despite getting off, Pal again sat on the motorcycle and Malakar, who had full knowledge of what was happening, drove through lanes and bylanes of Salt Lake.

“The men in uniform who are supposed to protect ordinary citizens had donned the tormentor’s hat,” Ali said at the court.

After hearing the arguments of both sides, the magistrate remanded the two accused in 14 days’ judicial custody.

Pal and Malakar have been charged under IPC sections 354 (outrageous the modesty of a woman) and 34 (common intent). If convicted, they can be jailed for five years.

The woman will record her statement before a magistrate and have to visit the jail for a test identification parade.

Surya Pratap Yadav, deputy commissioner, headquarters, Bidhannagar commissionerate, said the case would be investigated by Rupashree Pahari, an officer of the rank of assistant commissioner.

Also, a session to train cops of all ranks in soft skills and gender sensitisation will start soon.

Last updated on 14.12.21, 12:32 PM
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