Key suspect held for French woman's harassment in Kolkata

Key suspect held for French woman's harassment in Kolkata

The prime suspect in the horrific incident of a French woman being chased through the lanes of a posh Kolkata neighbourhood by drunk bikers was arrested Saturday, police said. Four  other accused were taken into custody earlier.

"Manoj Haldar was nabbed from the Gobindapur area in Lake Gardens Saturday. He has been charged with attempt to murder and other stringent penal sections," said a police officer.

The woman - a trainee at the Alliance Francaise du Bengale - was allegedly forced to take refuge behind taxis and construction materials, besides scaling the gate of an apartment complex in the wee hours of July 14.

A male colleague - also a French - accompanying her also had a torrid time, as he was chased and slapped by the bikers. One of the accused even loudly declared his intention to rape the woman, police said.

The woman, who was returning to her Jodhpur Park residence after attending the advance French National Day party at the Alliance Francaise and spending time at a friend's place, jumped into the apartment complex and was later driven home by her male colleague and some residents.

The police rounded up four of Haldar's accomplices July 14 under light and bailable charges. One of the four culprits got bail soon after.

However, after the local media took up the matter in a big way, police took a re-look at the complaint, spoke to the Frenchman and slapped more stringent non-bailable charges on the accused which, if proved, could land them in jail for 10 years.

They have now been accused of attempt to murder, and assault or criminal force on women with intent to outrage her modesty.

The West Bengal Women's Commission has sought a report from police on the incident.

Police have sought the cancellation of bail granted to accused Kanai Naskar.

"We have moved the court seeking cancellation of his bail saying there are more serious charges against him. We are waiting for the court permission," Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East Division) Debabrata Das told IANS.

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