The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Masked men on loot spree

A group of masked men scaled the walls of Samilton Chambers, on AJC Bose Road, gagged two security guards and wounded a plumber when he raised an alarm. Armed with bhojalis and pistols, the gang of 10 ransacked offices and escaped with Rs 2.5 lakh after a two-hour operation on Thursday morning. No arrests were made till late in the day. Even while the goons were on their looting spree, two Tiger patrol vans on anti-crime duty reportedly crossed the area.

A disgusted A.K. Joshi of Esko Die Casting, one of the offices that was burgled, said he was planning to shift out of the building. “This is the second time our office has been burgled. Five months ago, miscreants had entered by breaking open a window grille and taken away cash,’’ he said.

Witnesses said the hoodlums entered the building around 2.30 am. “I was asleep near the main gate when the group came from behind and hit me with the butt of a revolver,'’ said security guard Tapeswar Singh. “Two of them stood guard near the main gate, while two others gagged me and my colleague Bindeswar Singh,’’ he added.

The criminals also pushed a guard and Tapeswar’s wife into a room and locked the door. Ghanashyam Parida, plumber of the building, who stays in a room on the ground floor, woke up and raised an alarm. “One of the criminals swiped him with a bhojali. He collapsed on the floor, bleeding heavily from the shoulders,’’ Bindeswar said.

The criminals broke open the lock of Global Telesystems on the first floor, but did not find any cash. Another group went to the second floor and broke into the Universal Subscriptions and Esko Die Castings’ offices. “They took away Rs 28,000 from both the offices,’’ said an employee of Universal Subscriptions. The criminals then went to the third-floor office of Digha Seafood Export, from where they looted around Rs 1.9 lakh. “We had kept the money to make payments on Thursday. Usually, we don’t keep so much of money in the cash box,’’ said an employee.

Deputy commissioner, detective department, Soumen Mitra, blamed a local gang for the burglary but deputy commissioner (eastern suburban division) Sanjoy Mukherjee feels the criminals were “outsiders”. The victims, however, claim the group came from the nearby Beniapukur slums. “It is not possible for outsiders to pull off such an operation,’’ they said.

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