Trinamul trade union leader in assault row - Slapgate on road to wedding in minister's Hooghly house

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  • Published 18.02.12

A private company’s employee, whose job it is to ensure that trucks pay toll and take the Nivedita Setu, was allegedly slapped by the state INTTUC president on Friday when he diverted a vehicle carrying decoration material for labour minister Purnendu Basu’s daughter’s wedding.

Trucks carrying goods are barred on Vivekananda Setu and all Prabhash Ghughu, 23, had done was ask the driver of the Tata Ace headed towards Uttarpara to take the Nivedita Setu instead.

Ghughu later lodged a police complaint against INTTUC president Dola Sen, who has denied the allegation. Trinamul leader Sumit Chakrabarty has lodged a counter-complaint on behalf of Sen, accusing the toll plaza staff of an extortion bid.

Ghughu was posted at the approach to the old bridge when he spotted the Tata Ace (WB-23 B/5453). “A group of youths got off and started protesting. Ghughu told them they would have to take the new bridge,” said an officer of Baranagar police station, quoting the complaint lodged by Ghughu.

The youths allegedly challenged Ghughu, saying they were headed for the minister’s daughter’s wedding. Ghughu called up his superviser for instructions before dropping the handrail to block the way for the vehicle. One of the youths then whipped out a mobile phone and made a call.

Within minutes, Sen allegedly reached the spot. Ghughu said she slapped him repeatedly for daring to stop the vehicle. The youths too joined in and Ghughu sustained injuries on his face.

“The superviser, Laxman Dutta, arrived by this time and he too was drawn into an argument with Sen and the group. Dutta tried explaining that Ghughu was doing his duty but they refused to listen,” said a member of SIMB, the company operating the toll plaza.

When Metro contacted Ghughu, he refused comment saying he was too tired after night duty and that all that he had to say was there in the complaint. Superviser Dutta’s phone was switched off.

Asked about the incident over phone, Sen said she was “busy”. But Chakrabarty, Trinamul councillor of ward 18 in Uttarpara Municipality, lodged a complaint on her behalf, accusing the toll plaza staff of demanding money to let the vehicle pass.

According to the complaint lodged by Chakrabarty, those travelling by the Tata Ace had asked the toll plaza staff why they had been stopped since it was not a truck. But the staff allegedly misbehaved.

“Three trucks carrying material for the wedding passed the bridge (Nivedita Setu). One at 9.30pm on Thursday and the rest around 4am on Friday,” Chakrabarty told Metro. He added that Sen was not present on the spot.

Basu, however, said: “I can assure you that no truck carrying goods for my daughter’s marriage crossed the bridge. Since I am busy, I am not aware of the details of the incident.”

Barrackpore police commissioner Sanjoy Mukherjee said prima facie there was nothing in Ghughu’s complaint to suggest a cognisable offence. “We have drawn up an FIR under bailable sections on the basis of Chakrabarty’s complaint against Ghughu,” he said.