Car smash accused gets bail

The lone man arrested in connection with the clash that resulted in serious injuries to a passer-by and nine cars being damaged at Jodhpur Park was granted bail on Tuesday, making residents wonder why police had not slapped stronger charges on him.

Of the other accused, the four who have been identified are still at large.

Pachugopal Halder, the 39-year-old chief organiser of the fair over which two groups clashed on Sunday night, had been charged with rioting (sections 147, 148, 149 of the IPC), voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons (section 324 of the IPC) and mischief (section 427 of the IPC). All the sections are bailable..

Senior police officers said that considering the injuries suffered by 20-year-old Prince Kumar Singh, who had been caught in the clash, non-bailable charges could have been slapped on Halder. Those slapped with non-bailable charges rarely get bail in the first few hearings.

"It is surprising to see that investigating officers charged the accused under bailable sections. Section 324 of the IPC could have been replaced with the non-bailable Section 326 of the IPC," said a senior officer.

Section 326 deals with voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons. "In this case, the accused used dangerous weapons like hockey sticks and swords," said a senior officer.

Prince, who works as a sales executive, was on his way home to Narendrapur when he was assaulted. "He was taken to Peerless Hospital, where he received five stitches on his right eyebrow, four at the back of his head and two on his forehead. He also has severe chest, neck and shoulder injuries," said Prince's brother Sushant. Prince was shifted to SSKM Hospital on Tuesday.

"I have heard that Halder has been roaming free in the area. It is scary that people can get away so easily after causing so much damage to other people," said Asit Sardar, whose five-month-old Tavera was wrecked in the clash.

Four others ' Jhole, Dipak, Dilip and Nata ' whom the police have identified are still at large. Sardar, who runs a travel agency, said this was not the first time his vehicles had been damaged in this way. "Sunday's was a re-run of what happened to my Maruti Omni in 2011 and 2012. If the police cannot rein in rogues, we will continue to suffer," he said.

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