| After Sunday's loot-and-rape spree in Salt Lake, the police are on an overdrive in the township. There are pickets posted at major intersections and patrolling on motorcycles. Picture by Amit Datta
The gang of robbers that went on a nightlong rampage in Salt Lake, looting and raping a teenager on Sunday, has been busted and a big booty recovered.
The breakthrough coincided with police sources stating that the medical reports of the 15-year-old had confirmed rape.
The daughter of GC-55 caretaker Jaynal Mollah had been raped in front of her tied-up parents early on Sunday. 'The medical tests are in the affirmative,' said an officer, adding that the family was being kept under police protection.
Rabiul Laskar, one of the four goons involved in the crime spree, was arrested early on Monday at a village in Patharpratima, South 24-Parganas. Altaf Hussain, the 'receiver' of the gang, was arrested at Diamond Harbour later in the day.
'The gang would operate mainly in Salt Lake. Valuables that could be carried off easily were stolen by the four robbers; Altaf would sell them off and share the booty,' said Vageesh Mishra, inspector-general of police, south Bengal range.
A large number of stolen articles ' expensive mobile sets, watches, CD players, cassette players, cameras and imported perfumes ' were recovered from Altaf. 'Our teams are conducting several raids to search for other valuables that have been sold off,' added Mishra.
A group of local residents had managed to round up three of the gang of four ' Ziaul Laskar, Hasan Laskar and Khairul Mollah ' when they tried to hide in GC-76. Only Rabiul managed to flee.
The three robbers, who had been thrashed by the mob, have been admitted to Bidhannagar Sub-Divisional Hospital and are under observation. 'They will be produced in court once the doctors give us the fitness certificate,' said an officer.
On Sunday afternoon, a team of policemen from Salt Lake went to Patharpratima, where they were joined by members of the local police. Rabiul was holed up in his home in Gajipara, a remote village in the Patharpratima police station area.
After a village woman had showed them the way, the policemen walked seven kilometres in the dark to reach Laskar's house. 'The village is not accessible by road,' confirmed an officer who was part of the swoop squad.
They surrounded the house and around 2 am, one of them called out Rabiul's name. He came out, only to be confronted by a cop cordon. 'He admitted to the robberies and rape. We have taken him into custody,' an officer said.
Altaf was picked up in the afternoon from Sathpur village, in Diamond Harbour.
Back in Salt Lake, a number of demonstrations were staged by members of the Trinamul Congress, SUCI and the CPM's Mahila Samity at Bidhannagar (South) police station. They were all demanding proper safety measures for the locality, especially women.