He is a suave, well-groomed, well-built man of 33. He used to rob his young victims of their valuables, striking fear in them by sometimes posing as a cop or a killer on the run. He operated in the New Market area, often in front of cinemas, and targeted school and college-going boys from well-to-do families.
In a pre-dawn swoop on Tuesday, officers of New Market police station arrested the conman, identified as Raja Sarkar, at his Dum Dum residence. In the course of preliminary investigation, it was discovered that there are eight cases pending against the accused. Besides, he is wanted in a number of cases pending at Shyampukur police station.
“No one can suspect that Sarkar is a swindler. The way he speaks to his victims is convincing enough,” said Zulfiquar Hasan, deputy commissioner of police, central division.
Hasan said Sarkar would hang around cinemas in the New Market area and targeted boys carrying mobile phones and accompanied by their girlfriends. “He would sidle up to his victims and would whisper ominously into their ears,” said Hasan.
While posing as a cop, Sarkar used to tell his victim that police have already surrounded the area and that he will arrest the boy under some false charge. “Then, Sarkar would ask for the young person’s mobile phone, and after asking him some irrelevant questions, he would take his victim to a corner close by,” said Hasan. “Sarkar would take away all the valuables — right from cash to jewellery — from the young man and his girl friend and then release them.”
But when he pretended to be a killer, Sarkar would become a different person altogether. “His victims would be terrified, as he would mention some fictitious murder case in the area. He would identify himself as the mastermind of the killing,” said the deputy commissioner. “He would threaten his victims that he would implicate them in the case when arrested. The nervous teenagers would hand over all their valuables. Sarkar’s victims hesitated to complain to us.”
New Market police started probing the cases after receiving complaints from eight teenagers. “In the course of the investigation, we came upon another old case where the man operated in a similar manner. Taltala police station, which used to look after the New Market area then, arrested Sarkar last year in Howrah. This time, we raided the same place, but Sarkar had left the area six months ago,” added Hasan.
Police, then, received a tip-off that Sarkar was living in the Dum Dum area. “So, we raided the house and rounded him up,” said Hasan.