A mob vandalised a residential complex in a posh area on Panditya Road in South Kolkata, beat up its security personnel and damaged 75 mostly high-end cars following a road accident in which a 24-year-old youth was killed after being hit by a Mercedes car on Hazra Road on Sunday morning.
Tension continued in the area till relatives of the victim, Abhijit Pandey, staged a road block at Hazra crossing demanding arrest of the driver of the Mercedes while on the other hand residents of the housing complex demanded stringent action by the police in connection with the incident of vandalism. Four persons – Shakti Singh (36), Rajesh Chawdhury (40), Amritlal Yadav (19) and Prakash Roy (43) – were arrested on Sunday night for ransacking the residential complex.
The residents of the Fort Oasis housing complex, where there are two nine storey towers, each housing around 90 flats and four other residential blocks, were taken aback finding around 150 people beating up their security personnel and damaging cars with iron rods. Many eminent people including Debashis Kumar, Member and Mayor-in-Council (Parks and Gardens) of Kolkata Municipal Corporation, senior lawyers and top businessmen own flats in the housing complex.
A senior police officer said three youth including the victim from a locality situated close to Fort Oasis were returning from SSKM Hospital, where one of their neighbour was admitted who was suffering from dengue, early Sunday morning. They were heading towards the same direction on a scooty, a bit ahead of the offending Mercedes car. The accident took place as the youth suddenly tried to take a right turn and were hit by the “speeding Mercedes car” near a Paramount Nursing Home on Hazra Road.
Preliminary investigation revealed that there were two women and a middle-aged man in the offending vehicle bearing the registration number WB02AG6911. All the three persons had fled soon after the accident, leaving the youth writhing in pain in a pool of blood.
Policemen patrolling the area reached the spot and took them to hospital with the help of local people. Abhijit was declared brought dead while his friends Mithilesh Yadav (23) and Rambarat Yadav (22) received severe injuries.
Since people of the offending car were absconding, the victim’s neighbours had initiated a search for the accused. Someone among the mob claimed that he had seen a car bearing similar registration number entering Fort Oasis a few days ago. As a result, a couple of people from the victim’s neighbourhood went to Fort Oasis and forcefully checked the register having details of the car at the entrance of the housing complex.
Incidentally, a resident of Fort Oasis owns a Swift Dzire bearing registration number with same last four digits with that of the offending Mercedes car. The car in the housing complex - with same last four digits 6911 - is of AB series while that of the offending car is of AG series. Instead of verifying it properly, the duo misinformed local people saying that the offending vehicle is owned by a resident of the housing complex.
Ajit Daga, president of Fort Oasis Owners’ Association, said that around 150 people entered the premises of the housing complex forcefully after beating up two security guards around 8 am. “We came running hearing that something went wrong. They didn’t pay heed to any of our words and continued the vandalism for around an hour damaging 75 cars that include Mahendra Xylo, Skoda, Ford, Audi, BMW and Land Rover. They ransacked the front officer and reception of tower I. They took away keys and documents of many cars. We contacted the police. The policemen who initially came from Lake police station was outnumbered by the mob. Later, more policemen were pressed and the situation came under control,” he said adding that all residents of the housing complex urged the police for their security as they consider it to be a motivated attack and it cannot be an incident due to outrage of a road accident. Senior police officers including DC South East Division Gourav Sharma and DC South Murli Dhar went to the spot.
Another resident said the mob would have moved up to the first floor in search of the car owner, though he is not at all from the housing complex, if they would have got some more time. “They failed to move up as some women residents stood on the staircase to stop them,” the resident said.
Ranjan Roy, general manager (operations) of the housing complex’s security agency, said that everyday 20 security personnel including two women in day and 18 at night remain deployed in the housing complex and the main gate remains partly close. On Sunday morning, the incident took place right during the shift change of the security guards.
A complaint has been lodged for with vandalism with Lake police station and the Fatal Squad of Traffic Police (FSTP) is probing into the road accident. Though police have come to know that the car was owned by a Little Star Tie Up (P) Ltd, with its office on AJC Bose Road, investigating officers are yet to arrest people who were in the Mercedes car. The offending vehicle and victim’s scooter were taken to Tollygunge police station.