Man hangs himself, locals allege police threats

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Kolkata, Aug 7 (IANS) A middle-aged man committed suicide in West Bengal on Monday after allegedly being threatened by police to give a bribe in order to avoid being arrested.

Police confirmed the suicide but did not accept the allegation of asking for money.

Bimal Bairagi (43), a resident of South 24 Parganas district’s Falta, hanged himself near his house on Monday morning.

According to locals, Bairagi’s name came up in an electricity theft case during an inspection by personnel of the state electricity board last week. The officials of the board then lodged a complaint against him and a few other villagers in the nearby Falta police station.

The locals alleged that an officer from the police station pressurised Bairagi for money to drop the charges against him. They claimed Bairagi committed suicide on Monday after he failed to arrange the amount.

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“Police took Rs 2,000 from him and asked for another Rs 10,000 to avoid jail term. The brother of the deceased was also given notice by the police. He was forced to commit suicide under constant pressure from the police,” a villager alleged.

The police denied the allegation and said they have not received a complaint against any of the officers.

“There is no question of asking for money. His (Bairagi’s) name came up in a complaint lodged by the electricity board. Also we haven’t received any complaints against any of our officers for asking money,” the officer added.

After the suicide, the locals gathered at the spot and protested against the police, demanding punishment for the accused police officer. They also stopped police from taking the body.

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