Constable Tanmoy Das and civic volunteer Babai Mullick were injured
KOLKATA: A car speeding down EM Bypass, with a police vehicle in hot pursuit on lockdown Saturday, hit two policemen while attempting to flee a traffic check-point. One of the cops suffered a fracture. The 32-yearold businessman at the wheel was arrested and two other occupants in the car — a man and a woman — were detained.
The short-yet-dramatic chase between the Science City crossing and Uttar Panchannagram lasted less than a couple of minutes, but people were shaken by the reckless manner in which 32-year-old Raunak Agarwal drove the car to evade the cops.
The incident took place around 10.30am on Saturday at Uttar Panchannagram, a few hundred metres from Ambedkar bridge. According to police, the orange hatchback was first flagged down at the EM Bypass-Park Circus intersection near Science City as part of the intensified checks on vehicles out on a day of complete lockdown. But the car swerved around the guard rails and sped towards the Ambedkar bridge.
Tanmoy Das, a constable from the Tiljala traffic guard, along with three civic volunteers, including Babai Mullick, was on duty at the Uttar Panchannagram crossing. Das said cops at the Science City crossing had alerted him about the car on walkie talkie. “We rushed to draw the guard rails across the road so that the car could be stopped. We could see the orange car at a distance behind four-five other vehicles,” Das said. While the other vehicles slowed down and stopped on seeing the cops trying to cordon off the road, Agarwal reportedly suddenly stopped his vehicle and attempted to reverse. But with vehicles rushing in from behind, he apparently realized it would be difficult.
Seeing a police vehicle drawing up behind him, Agarwal shifted gears and accelerated forward. Seeing the car hurtle towards the road barriers, Mallick tried to roll the guard rail across while Das tried to flag the car down. But Agarwal reportedly did not stop. He ran over Das’s foot and brushed past Mullick, flinging him to one side. But with more guard rails in front, the car was caught in a maze and Agarwal had no option but to stop.
Residents of the area rushed in, pulled Agarwal out and reportedly gave him a thrashing, while some even smashed his cars windows. The three were then taken to the police station, while Das was taken to Ruby Hospital.
Agarwal, who owns a manufacturing unit and is into export, lives on Sarat Bose Road. His family denied he was at fault. Instead, they claimed, Agarwal had left home on receiving calls from two friends, who wanted to be dropped home. “He had not gone out for a spin. He is a law-abiding citizen. The cops at the naka were unusually harsh on him and they allowed him to be manhandled and his car damaged. This happened even after he stopped the car and apologized,” the family said in a statement issued on Saturday evening.
DC (southeast) Debasmita Das said multiple sections of the IPC and Disaster Management Act had been slapped on Agarwal. “It was a case of disobeying lockdown, driving in a rash and negligent manner, deterring a public servant from carrying out his duty and voluntarily causing hurt,” said Das.