The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Put to sleep, home burgled

Dodging security guards and killing a pet dog, a gang of robbers stormed a two-storeyed house in Survey Park late on Thursday. The goons had plans to rob four adjoining houses too, but were thwarted when some residents woke up and raised the alarm.

The dacoity, in the heart of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s constituency, resulted in the Roychowdhury house being wiped clean and fear gripping the Santoshpur area leading up to the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass.

The break-in was termed “remarkable” by the police as the goons had, apparently, sprayed a special ‘sleeping powder’ to “knock out” the family.

“We have collected a plastic packet containing a white powder, which the robbers left on the refrigerator before fleeing the house. They could have sprinkled the sleeping powder through the window as the bed is close to it. We have sent the powder for tests,” said Rajesh Kumar Singh, additional superintendent of police, South 24-Parganas.

Samarendra Narayan Basu Roychowdhury, a deputy manager with Webel, said: “Even 12 hours after the incident, my wife and I are groggy... I don’t know how the goons could have escaped the notice of the 11 security guards who keep a nightlong vigil in these three blocks of Survey Park.”

Samarendra lives on the ground floor, while elder brother Ranendra is on the first floor.

He said: “Smriti (his wife) and I retired for the night around 12.15 am. When we woke up around 4 am, I saw the almirah open and the room ransacked. Finding both the doors bolted, the two of us started shouting for help.”

Ranendra heard the cries, but could not come to their rescue as his door, too, had been bolted from outside.

“So, I too started shouting for help,” he said. Alerted by the shouts, neighbours rushed to the Roychowdhury home to find their pet dog lying dead. The robbers had, allegedly, lured the dog to its death with poisoned biscuits.

Samarendra and his wife discovered that the robbers had looted Rs 30,000 in cash, besides gold ornaments worth Rs 40,000 and clothes worth more than Rs 30,000.

Kanti Ganguly, the Sunderbans development minister who lives close by, visited the spot and met the victims.

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