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Lucky locket lost and found

For four full days, the prince of Calcutta went without his lucky charm ' but for once, he could blame neither coach nor selector.

Sourav Ganguly's precious gold chain and locket, stolen from his Behala bedroom on Friday morning, was retrieved on Tuesday from Amta, in Howrah.

Two people were arrested for the high-profile theft ' and no, they weren't named Greg Chappell or Kiran More.

The happy ending to the lost-and-found saga came in the nick of time, as Sourav leaves later this week to play for Northamptonshire in a desperate bid to regain a place in Team India.

And the former skipper is 'extremely superstitious' about wearing the Mangal Chandi locket attached to the chain every time he takes the field.

The Mangal Chandi locket is a symbol of the family's faith in the deity and for the past three years, the chain has been a permanent companion. A tablet with numerology and religious inscriptions was added to the chain recently, on advice from a family astrologer.

'He requested us to return his locket and, if necessary, keep the gold chain for the sake of investigation. He needs the locket urgently, as he is leaving to play County matches soon,' said the investigating officer of Thakurpukur police station, where the case of the missing chain and locket was registered.

Police said that on Thursday night, Sourav had gone to bed with the gold chain ' three bhori-plus ' under his pillow, as usual.

The next day, Sourav left home early for Tollygunge Club without wearing the chain. On returning home, the precious accessory was nowhere to be found. A hunt was launched in the sprawling Ganguly household, in which close to 80 people stay, but in vain.

The needle of suspicion swung towards Mujibur Rahman, a youth of Basantapur village, in Amta, who would supply curtains and bed sheets to the Ganguly home for the past few years, and had come calling on Friday morning.

All efforts by Sourav's father Chandi Ganguly and wife Dona to trace Rahman failed.

Then came a Dalmiya twist in the tale.

'The Dalmiyas were also on Rahman's client list and when Jagmohan Dalmiya's daughter, a family friend of the Gangulys, called him, Rahman answered the phone but denied having any hand in the loss of the locket,' said an investigating officer.

On Monday, Chandi Ganguly lodged a formal complaint with Thakurpukur police.

A team led by inspector-in-charge Pritish Nandi went to Amta, reached Rahman's house but found nothing. When they were escorting the suspect back to the city, he confessed to his crime and told the cops where he had hidden the Mangal Chandi locket at home.

The police team then returned to Rahman's house, retrieved the locket and found Rs 10,000 in cash. But the gold chain was not to be found.

Rahman said he had sold the chain to Prasanta Porel, whose door the sleuths then knocked on and found the heavy gold chain.

Superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas) S.N. Gupta said on Tuesday both Rahman and Porel have been arrested.

Sourav refused to comment on the matter, but sources said he was 'extremely relieved' to get back the locket just before he leaves for a full English County season.

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