Four policemen, including an assistant sub-inspector, were injured in Burdwan’s Shaktigarh when the vehicle they were travelling in, was hit by a truck loaded with sand this afternoon.
Eyewitnesses said the Sumo regularly patrolled the area, stopped trucks and extorted money from the drivers.
A police officer, however, said the Sumo was today going to the Hooghly-Burdwan border to escort a senior police officer. The truck driver managed to flee and the police have launched a search for him.
Around 3pm today, the truck was travelling along the Durgapur Expressway towards Hooghly. The Sumo with four policemen overtook the truck and the policemen waved from the windows signalling the truck to stop.
The truck, however, rammed into the Sumo from behind. A dumper, which was behind the truck, could not apply the brakes in time and hit the truck from behind. The Sumo lost control and fell into a ditch on the roadside.
Local farmers working in the fields beside the road rushed to the spot but found it difficult to bring out the injured policemen from the mangled Sumo. They informed a police outpost, which organised an ambulance that arrived in 40 minutes.
A police team arrived. With help from local people and using crowbars and gas cutters, they cut open the rear door and windows of the Sumo to take the injured policemen out. The injured policemen were admitted to a private hospital, 8km from Burdwan town.
A doctor at the hospital said: “The policemen suffered head injuries and underwent CT-Scan. Two of them also suffered fractures in their arms. The nature of the injuries is serious and they have been kept under observation.”
The district superintendent of police said in a text message: “The truck was trying to overtake a container vehicle from the left when it dashed against the pilot car.”
A police officer said the police vehicle was headed for Basipur on the Hooghly-Burdwan on VIP duty.
However, local residents said the Sumo was often seen on this stretch of the road in Shaktigarh stopping trucks and extorting money from drivers.
Mujibar Sheikh, 47, a farmer, said: “We often see the same car travelling up and down from afternoon to evening stopping vehicles and taking money from drivers. Today, we saw the car trying to stop a truck which rammed it from behind.”
Naresh Das, a truck driver from Shaktigarh who frequently used the road, said: “I face this harassment everyday. This particular police vehicle regularly stops trucks and takes money from drivers. If one does not pay, they are forced to park their trucks on the roadside for long hours.”
Asked about the allegation, a senior police officer of Burdwan said: “I have heard about the allegation. I will personally monitor the road.”