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Rape and rampage by city robbers

Calcutta, July 24: A caretaker’s teenage daughter was raped by armed robbers before her tied-up parents in Salt Lake’s GC block where the gang went on a six-hour looting spree raiding four houses in the early hours of Sunday.

The four robbers walked into the house of P.K. Biswas, a former engineer of Steel Authority of India Ltd, at GC-55 around 5 am and demanded money from the caretaker, Jaynal Mollah. When denied, they ransacked the room, tied Mollah and his wife, and allegedly raped their 15-year-old daughter in front of them.

When the armed men were carrying out their audacious operation, picking one affluent home after another, finally making enough noise to attract attention, police ' supposed to be on patrol ' were nowhere to be seen.

Drawn by the caretaker’s cries for help, a group of local people mustered courage and chased the gang through the streets. The gang tried unsuccessfully to sneak into GC-76, a few houses away in the same lane, but three of them were caught and beaten up before being handed over to the police.

The three ' Ziaul Laskar, Hasan Laskar and Khairul Mollah ' said to be in a critical condition, have been admitted to Bidhannagar Sub-Divisional Hospital. The fourth, Rabi Laskar, is absconding.

Apparently, the robbers struck once the police patrol moved out of the block into another one. For six hours, they had a free run of the block, armed with sharp weapons, gas cutters and crowbars.

Before raiding GC-55 where they raped the teenager, the robbers had targeted two other houses in the same block, making off with a laptop computer and a watch from Dr Sitesh Chandra Dutta’s house (GC-166) between midnight and 1.45 am.

“I went to bed along with my two grandchildren around 11.30 pm as my son and his wife had gone out to attend a dinner party thrown by a friend. They returned around 1.35 am on Sunday, found their room on the first floor ransacked, the laptop and the watch missing,”

The robbers broke into the first-floor room of Dutta’s son by wrenching out the grilles of a window.

The house of a retired officer of the United Bank of India, Madhusudan Banerjee, at GC-70 was raided around 4 am, but the robbers had to go away empty-handed from there. “My wife was offering puja. Hearing an odd sound, she came out of her room and found a man trying to pick up the television set in the sitting room. She shouted and the man escaped,” Banerjee said.

According to the police, the robbers knew that the caretaker of GC-55, who is also a mason by profession, had brought home some money he had earned from a contract.

“I woke up hearing shouts from our caretaker and his wife around 6 am. They were screaming that their daughter had been raped by two persons,” said Sutapa Biswas, the lady of the house.

Less than two months ago, a similar incident had taken place in the township’s BD block, culminating in a shootout with the police in which Rabi Laskar’s brother was shot. His five other brothers are also known criminals.

Pravin Kumar, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, said: “It is a disturbing incident' it has happened at a time when we have taken all measures to ensure safety and security of residents of Salt Lake. We have arrested three of the robbers and the hunt is on for a fourth one.”

The girl has been sent for a medical test.

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