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Total cop out

Anil Meghraj squirmed with rage in his car. They had been stationary for an hour as a bus blocked traffic on the Howrah bridge.

india Updated: May 18, 2006 02:39 IST

Anil Meghraj squirmed with rage in his car. They had been stationary for an hour as a bus blocked traffic on the Howrah bridge. This was almost 20 years before the new bridge was to come up. Anil regularly commuted between the MNC’s headquarter at Calcutta and the factory he headed at Kharagpur. Traffic jams were common but today it seemed interminable. Worse, as the cop standing there, who could’ve easily cleared the bottleneck, couldn’t stop scratching, er, body parts. When he could take it no more, he walked up to ask the fellow why he was doing nothing to help. “What can I do?” the policeman retorted. “And, who are you to question me?” he added for good measure.

“I am Alok Mitra, DM of Midnapore,”. Anil opted to use his good friend’s name. He had barely uttered the name when the policeman jumped with a start, saluted and got to work. He bellowed some orders, pushed away hangers-on, got several drivers to push the errant bus and sure enough, the traffic started moving.

Few days later, at a party in the DM’s house, Anil narrated the incident. There was much guffawing all around. But one of the guests — the local DSP — immediately stood up. “Permission to arrest, sir” he addressed the host. Everyone thought it was a joke but the man was serious. He repeated his request “Permission to arrest for impersonating a government officer,” he repeated. The DM asked him to sit but he wouldn’t listen. His boss — the SP — even suggested that Mr Meghraj add to his story words to the effect “I wish this was the scenario” but the DSP wouldn’t give up. After much cajoling, he stopped fuming.

Anil couldn’t understand the reason for the DSP’s behaviour till Alok explained, “He’s a frustrated guy; no promotion, no rewards, no recognition for a long time. Previous bosses have ignored him. He gets irritated very quickly.” The next day, Anil called on the DSP and apologised. “No hard feelings, it was only a dinner story. I respect your sense of duty, let’s forget this.” The DSP was not amused. “You were responsible for my insult at the DM’s house. I’ll never forget that”. And he didn’t. A few weeks later, his security official was picked up by the DSP for ‘questioning’. The next morning the

officer came to Meghraj, badly bruised and shaken and started sobbing. “I can’t take this barbaric act. Please transfer me or accept my resignation”. Meghraj was dumbstruck. Apparently the DSP had taken his revenge by subjecting the security officer to third degree. The errant DSP’s transfer was sought and procured.

But Anil received one last call from the DSP. “You win, I’m leaving. But I still think I was only doing my duty when I was insulted at the DM’s house”.