This is in response to the ongoing scandal involving the Kolkata Police and the Todi family. I am not shocked at all by the goings on in Lalbazar and elsewhere. I had been a resident of Kolkata in 2004 and was consulting a company that was involved in converting a cinema complex in Central Kolkata into a Banquet center. The proprietor of the complex had financial problems and wanted to come out of his problems by making this center.
The New Market thana was the local police station. I do not remember the names of the officers but I do remember the way they pummeled this businessman into a shell by their strong-arm tactics. They landed up at all hours of the day with frivolous issues and exorbitant money demands. The businessman had to meet them and had to undergo the strain of meeting their demands. The entire Police station was involved in this extortion and there was no respite. Once, the businessman went to Lalbazar to talk to some other known people there but the extortion increased after the New Market people came to know of his escapade.
I was a veteran in Kolkata police and political affairs by way of heading Hotel projects in Central Kolkata where one keeps coming across a lot of such filth. But, I was taken aback at the intensity of the extortions. The Thana OC went on to comment that there was no one above the Police and that he should quietly pay. Then, the local political thugs were also let loose on him. Building permissions from KMC were delayed intentionally resulting in more mayhem as the businessman wanted to cut losses by opening fast.
I left the city then with a very bad taste in my mouth about Bengali government servants and politicians. I am vindicated when I see the filth spewing out now with the Rizwanur episode. No industry shall be able to come up in the right manner in Kolkata as permissions have to come through KMC and the Police. They are among the most corrupt and loutish in the entire nation. I have built a 60 crore company here in Pune in one year flat. I would not be able to do even one-fifth of what I did in the same time.
Some Police officers used to tell me very engagingly that they have to do it as there is some quota system or else they are questioned. This money goes right till the top. If anymore needs to be ascertained, somebody should ask the OC of Shakespeare Sarani Thana (2002) as to how many properties he owns in Kolkata and its surroundings. He may not say but his colleagues used to go green with envy in Police Club then!
They are worse than hooligans and it is not the first time that Kolkata has witnessed a murder by the Police officials for money. Prasoon Mukherjee has a lot to answer for!