KOLKATA: All four of them are dead and their families possess their death certificates. But the Chandannagar municipality in West Bengal’s Hooghly district, which had issued the certificates, has lodged an FIR against them for “filling up a large pond at the behest of a realtor” and asked them to report to police.
The accused Kalichandra Bodak died in September 1970, Bipinbihari Bodak in January 1973, Durgacharan Bodak in August 1981 and Rangalal Bodak four years ago.
According to local residents in Chandannagar, around 50 km from here, when the huge pond was filled up by a local builder, they complained to the municipality but no action was taken. They then sought the help of the town’s Legal Aid Society and a complaint was lodged with various government departments as filling up ponds or wetlands is illegal. After the departments wrote to the municipality, the Municipal Commissioner conducted a probe and lodged an FIR against the four dead men with a local police station. And the police registered a criminal case under various IPC Sections and issued notices asking them to appear for questioning, failing which they would be arrested or their family members might be booked for helping them escape.
Durgacharan’s grandson Sujit Bodak said, “I went to the police station but was told they could not help me as a criminal case was registered and I should approach the local councillor. I did but he avoided me.”
Many alleged that this is nothing but a ploy to divert attention and let the builders carry on with their illegal activities on the pond, which belongs to the Gondolpara Naatmandir.
Municipal Commissioner Ujjal Sengupta said, “Action was taken on the basis of investigation conducted by the respective departments. If it’s true that the men are dead, certainly we will initiate steps to rectify the mistake.” Mayor Ram Chakraborty said, “I can comment only after inquiring about it.”
With the Assembly elections scheduled next month, Opposition parties are having a field day over the issue and taunting the TMC which rules the municipality.