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Did Kolkata Police coerce Bengali actor’s maid to sit for lie detector test?

The domestic help, Aloka Naskar, says police took advantage of her lack of proper education. She wants to withdraw her consent for a lie-detector test.

kolkata Updated: Jul 18, 2017 17:27 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Rituparna Sengupta,Kolkata,Kolkata Police
Police allegedly coerced Rituparna Sengupta’s domestic help to agree to a lie detector test.(HT Photo)

Kolkata Police have waded into a controversy by allegedly coercing a 54-year-old domestic help into agreeing to a lie-detector test over a theft reported at top Bengali actress Rituparna Sengupta’s house in April.

The help, Aloka Naskar, says she has worked at the house for 26 years and that police took advantage of her lack of proper education. She has filed a petition to withdraw her consent for the narco-analysis test.

“The police misled me. I am illiterate… I was kept in complete dark about the harmful effects of the test. However, my relatives brought these into notice and I decided to withdraw my consent,” said Naskar.

“I got no lawyer. There was no one to guide me.”

The actor reported a theft of jewellery worth Rs nine lakhs from her mother’s south Kolkata home in April but told media that she didn’t suspect any of her helps. Sengupta couldn’t be reached despite repeated attempts.

A person subjected to the test is injected with sodium amytal or sodium pentothal that neutralise the power to imagine necessary for lying. The person becomes semi-conscious. A narco analysis may help the police is getting crucial clues but statements made during the test are not admissible in court.

Police denied the charges and said the magistrate explained the test to Naskar and that the results might go against her. “But even after that she agreed to the test. We have all the necessary documents with us,” said Praveen Kumar Tripathi, deputy commissioner, south, Kolkata Police.

The allegations have triggered outrage in Kolkata with many activists saying the police overstepped its limits.

“In my two decades of work in human rights, I have never come across narco test for petty theft. The Supreme Court turned down a request for narco test on CPI(Maoist) politburo member Kobad Ghandy since he declined permission,” remarked Ranjit Sur, vice-president of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR).

Others said Naskar was likely a victim of police trying to humour a prominent actor, who is said to be close to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The CM has elevated many top actors and artists to the state assembly and even Parliament.

“Naskar does not even know how to sign and applies thumb impression. She has no idea of the implications of a narco analysis test and how it is conducted. It is an example of what an overzealous police force does to please an influential personality,” remarked Sur. APDR provided Naskar a lawyer.

During the investigation, police has spoken to Naskar on various occasions. Forensic and finger print experts have also investigated the case.

This is the second controversy to hit the city police in recent months after allegations that investigators dragged their feet in arresting actor Bikram Chatterjee, who is an accused in the accident that killed model Sonika Chauhan.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 17:26 IST