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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Student takes to extortion
- Police on the look-out for two aides in crime attempt

Unable to pay for his studies, a BA first-year student, Surojit Biswas, had taken to crime a few months ago. His luck ran out on Friday night, when he was arrested close to Teghoria, near Baguiati, on the northern fringes of the city.

'Biswas was first spotted by a police patrol manning VIP Road, where he was loitering about. Police became suspicious and the officers stopped him. When he tried to escape, the patrol team overpowered him and brought him to the police station,' said an officer of Rajarhat thana.

According to North 24 Parganas district superintendent of police Praveen Kumar, the 19-year-old youth was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms and attempted extortion.

'We had received a complaint on May 9 from a local doctor that he was receiving threats over the phone to pay Rs 1 lakh. On the basis of this complaint, we managed to trace the call to a local booth after setting up a caller line identification gadget at the doctor's chamber,' Kumar said.

The phone booth-owner was briefed and was told to inform police if he suspected someone. 'Biswas was the one who was making the phone calls with a handkerchief wrapped around the mouthpiece. Once we got the tip-off and his description, we were on the lookout for him. Our officers chanced upon him on VIP Road and netted him,' Kumar added.

Biswas reportedly told the police that he was not the brains behind the extortion attempt.

'Two of my friends had approached me with the idea. My father works as a mason and my mother is a housewife. His earnings are not enough to maintain the family and to pay for my studies as well. I needed some money and so I joined hands with them. The Rs 25,000 that they had promised to share with me would have allowed me to pay my college and tuition fees,' Biswas added.

The police are on the lookout for the other two. 'This was their first brush with crime and they could not plan the operation in a professional manner,' police said.

Most criminals in the Rajarhat, Baguiati, Dum Dum and Lake Town area are behind the bars. In many cases, students are filling up the void.

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