A Durgapur-based cement trader late on Saturday filed a police complaint against two members of a local club after he had to be hospitalised for injuries from the alleged thrashing he got from them when he refused to pay them Rs 12,000 as Durga Puja chanda (subscription).
Arup Banerjee, who runs a cement shop at Nadiha in the town's Coke Oven area and is also a road construction contractor, suffered injuries on his head and chin.
Admitted to the Durgapur subdivisional hospital, he lodged a police complaint against Uday Sangha club members Sanjib Sarkar and Bhola.
Police said a probe had started. The duo, who have not been seen in the locality since, have not yet been arrested.
Banerjee from his hospital bed accused the youths of repeatedly demanding Rs 12,000 as Durga Puja subscription for their club and asking him to take the onus of buying puja materials for all five days. He said he had been refusing consistently, saying it was beyond his means.
"On Saturday around 9pm, I was returning home after closing my shop when Sanjib and Bhola again met me and asked for money," said Banerjee. He said when he again refused and threatened to inform the police, they started beating him up. "They just pounced on me and thrashed me," he said.
He said when he slumped to the ground, the duo fled. Bystanders rushed to his rescue as he is known in area, and admitted him to the hospital, he added.
Sources alleged Sanjib was close to illegal sand miners. Arrested earlier, he recently got out on bail.
Sanjib, who could be contacted over the phone, denied Banerjee's charge and claimed he and Bhola were the ones to be beaten up by the trader.
"We never forced him for money, we never even touched him. The allegations are baseless, to malign us and our club. We are involved in social welfare activities throughout the year.... He is the one who beat us up," Sanjib said.