|Raju Chakraborty drives his toto in Jalpaiguri on Thursday. Picture by Biplab Basak|
TT, Jalpaiguri, July 21: The town witnessed two different acts by two toto drivers yesterday.
While one was arrested for making lewd gestures in front of a girls’ hostel, another toto driver rescued a minor girl from the clutches of a youth, who he thought was trying to elope with the child.
The arrested driver was produced in court here today and granted bail.
Sujit Dutta, 43, a resident of Mondolghat on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri, has been driving his toto for the past eight months.
For the past two weeks, however, he has been seen in front of the P.D. Women’s College’s hostel on Club Road, almost every evening, making obscene gestures aimed at the boarders.
“For the past few days, we have been noticing the toto driver. He would stand near a lamppost in front our hostel and make lewd gestures. His gestures were so vulgar that we could not tolerate it any more,” a boarder said.
Fed up, some of the girls in the hostel shot a video of the driver and sent it to Ashish Roy, the inspector in charge of Kotwali police station.
“We acted immediately. Yesterday evening, I went to the spot myself. We found the toto driver standing near the hostel. He was arrested,” Roy said.
Later, college principal Santa Chhetri filed a police complaint against Dutta.
Roy said: “We have booked Sujit Dutta, the toto driver who was arrested from Club Road yesterday, under sections 354A (a man committing acts like physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures or a demand or request for sexual favours or showing pornography against the will of a woman or making sexually coloured remarks) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC.”
Dutta was produced in court today.
“He has been asked to give a written undertaking to the court saying he will refrain from any such acts. The court has also alerted him. He has apologised in the court,” a police source said.
Dutta had been employed by the toto owner to drive the vehicle.
In another incident, about 5km away, toto driver Raju Chakraborty had a different tale to tell.
He rescued a minor girl.
Mahadeb Mal, a resident of East Midnapore district, had reached Jalpaiguri town with a 17-year-old girl from Cooch Behar yesterday.
It was learnt that they got to know each other through Facebook.
Yesterday, they boarded Chakraborty’s toto.
“In Ghumtee Number Three area, the duo hired my toto and asked me to take them to Gosala More (on the outskirts of Jalpaiguri town off NH31D). They wanted to take a bus to Siliguri from Gosala. I got a little suspicious by the manner in which they were talking to each other,” Chakraborty said.
“At Gosala More, the duo could not get a bus to go to Siliguri. They both started quarrelling and during the argument, I heard the girl say she wanted to go back home. The youth, however, kept saying that they would spend the night in a hotel,” said the toto driver.
Chakraborty’s suspicion grew and he told the duo that he could take them to a hotel nearby.
“I think the youth was trying to persuade the girl to elope with him. When they boarded my toto again, I drove straight to Kotwali police station as I had a feeling that the youth was trying to take the girl somewhere with wrong intentions. I informed the police officers who then asked the duo to go inside with them,” the resident of Ghumtee Number Four in town said.
Chakraborty drives his own toto.
The police officers spoke to the duo and the girl told them she wanted to go back home.
The girl’s family was contacted and Mahadeb was detained.
“We are talking to Mahadeb Mal to know his intentions,” inspector Roy said.
The girl’s family reached Jalpaiguri this morning.
A police source said the girl has been handed over to her family.