Tea stall stands, Haldiram’s owner faces life term
It began in March 2005, a year after the Kolkata High Court negated Haldiram’s owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal’s efforts to get tea stall owner Satyanarayan Thakur to vacate his 170 sq ft property standing between the businessman and his expansion plans.kolkata Updated: Jan 28, 2010 01:40 IST
It began in March 2005, a year after the Kolkata High Court negated Haldiram’s owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal’s efforts to get tea stall owner Satyanarayan Thakur to vacate his 170 sq ft property standing between the businessman and his expansion plans.
The stall stood in front of an old house Agarwal had bought to expand his adjacent outlet into a food plaza and blocked the entry to the plaza that was never built.
On March 27, 2005, Agarwal and his associate, Gopal Tewary, an extortionist according to city police sources, offered Thakur Rs 4 lakh to let go of his property.
But the ploy didn’t work. Thakur refused to part budge from the property set up by his grandfather in 1955. Seeing Thakur unwilling to negotiate, Agarwal told Tewary to kill him.
Three days later, Tewary and his associates drove to the tea stall in North Kolkata’s busy Burrabazar area around 5.15 a.m. and fired at Thakur’s nephew Pramod Sharma (22) who was sleeping there. But the bullet hit Sharma’s thigh. Sharma was rushed to a nearby hospital and survived to run the business with his uncle.
The police opened a case of attempt to murder Sharma and arrested Tewary from Hyderabad and Agarwal from New Delhi after two months when he returned from London.
In July 2005, the city police’s detective department filed a charge-sheet and the trial began at a city sessions fast track court. Agarwal got bail but Tewary and his gang members were in jail all these years, during which period about 44 witnesses were cross-examined.
Finally, nearly five years later, on Wednesday, judge Tapen Sen held Agarwal and four associates, including Tewary, guilty of conspiring to murder Satyanarayan Thakur.
The judge said he would pronounce the quantum of punishment, which can extend to life imprisonment, on Friday.