Baruipur (South 24-Parganas), Nov. 8: A gang of armed men ransacked the municipality here last night raising fears that important documents relating to a market over which court cases were pending were robbed.
The intruders broke open 16 steel almirahs on the ground and first floors of the building.
Municipality chairperson Ira Chatterjee could not ascertain whether the intruders made away with crucial documents. They could not break open the safe deposit vault but the miscreants ransacked every room of the office. Two security guards were seriously injured when they tried to resist.
The marauding continued for over three hours. Senior police officers and forensic experts were rushed to the spot.
According to the officer in-charge of Baruipur police station, M.O. Farooq, the miscreants had come looking for papers related to the Kachari Bazar. “Some municipality employees must be involved as the criminals took away the keys of the almirahs from drawers that are known only to employees ,” said Farooq.
The gang entered the premises around 1.45 am. At the time, four guards were on duty. One of them, Sunil Elin, said: “I saw a man approaching and asked him who he was. He said he was from the locality. But in seconds, he forced me into the building. Three more persons entered and overpowered us.” The gang tied up the guards and gagged them.
“All of them were armed and whenever we made any movement they kicked and punched us,” Elin said.
However, neither Chatterjee nor Farooq was convinced by the “story”. The officer said a dispute was on over the market for a long time. The rent collected from the market every month is around a lakh and its original owner, Shamim Yusuf, a resident of Bangalore.
“In 1993, the market was taken over by the municipality. Since then, we have been collecting the rents from the shopowners. But some persons, who identified themselves as representatives of the original owner, were also collecting money. They became desperate when we tightened screws,” said Chatterjee.
Subdivisional officer Amal Kumar Das said even after repeated requests, the real owners of the market did not show up.