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Civic burglary kingpin held

The police on Thursday stormed a slum in Dum Dum and arrested Kamal Saha, accused of several murders and suspected to have engineered a series of robberies in municipalities earlier this month.

Additional superintendent of police Ajay Nand said Saha had managed to obtain bail three months ago and was involved in a major gangwar with rival Bankim in the Barrackpore belt.

Police said their counterparts in Maniktala, Howrah and Behala were also on Saha’s trail. He is wanted in more than two dozen cases of extortion, murder and robbery in these areas.

According to the police, Saha was always on the move with his associates, never staying in one area for more than three months.

“We have evidence that Saha had recently recruited a few unemployed youths from Barrackpore and involved them in looting the Barrackpore and Krishnagar municipalities in the first week of November,’’ an officer said.

On Thursday, Saha, however, refused to admit that he had engineered the twin robberies. “So far, he has not confessed to the crime but we hope to bring him around. The manner in which the vault lock was broken suggests Saha’s handiwork,’’ the officer added.

Police superintendent M. Harisena Verma and other senior officers interrogated Saha for about an hour on Thursday.

Miscreants had broken into the safe deposit vaults of Barrackpore and Krishnagar municipalities in the first week of November and looted more than Rs 7 lakh. They also tried to loot the Baruipur civic body, but failed to break open the safe deposit vault.

On Thursday, the Dum Dum police were tipped off by one of Saha’s rivals about his hideout in the slums. “The informer said that Saha had left the city for Purulia but had returned on Tuesday evening to collect money from one of his associates. He had planned to stay on till Friday, before leaving station once again,’’ the officer said. An eight-member police team surrounded the slum, sealing all escape routes. Saha was chatting with friends when the team stormed the room and rounded him up.

Maniktala police said Saha was close to Bobby, a person, who hid the stolen goods. They added that Bobby often kept “stolen money in safe custody”.

“Saha has also been accused of stealing copper wires and extorting money from businessmen in Maniktala and Entally,’’ said an officer.

The Howrah and Behala police said Saha and his associates had burgled nearly eight houses of the area a few months ago.

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