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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Swindler among sleuths
- Woman home guard held for extortion in CID headquarters

When a tip-off reached the CID headquarters that Minati Biswas, a home guard with the department, was hatching an extortion plot, the officers brushed it off as an attempt to malign the middle-aged woman.

Yet, they went by the book and laid a trap for Biswas in the Bhabani Bhavan office, if only to prove that the “amiable woman, always ready to serve her superiors with a smile”, could not be part of such a racket. They were proved horribly wrong.

Biswas, in her 50s, and one of her accomplices, Arup Sarkar, were arrested at the CID headquarters on Wednesday afternoon on charges of extortion.

Their intended victim was the owner of a beauty parlour-cum-massage centre in south Calcutta. The duo has been remanded in police custody till February 3.

A preliminary probe has revealed that the woman, from Entally’s Padmapukur, had tried to fleece several people, in the garb of a senior CID officer.

“We could never believe that a home guard from the CID could be in the extortion business,” admitted inspector-general of police (CID) D.P. Tarenia. “When we received the tip-off, we thought someone was trying to malign her. As a matter of routine, we laid a trap and the complaint turned out to be true... It has really hurt us.”

An officer said Biswas had first sent Sarkar, 40, a resident of Regent Colony, in Jadavpur, to the Manoharpukur-based parlour to browbeat the owner into coughing up money.

Sarkar told the owner that police had learnt about the “illegal activities” in the parlour and would soon raid the establishment.

As a way out, he suggested, the owner should immediately contact Minati Biswas, whom he introduced as a senior CID officer. “She called the owner on January 24 and asked him to cough up Rs 50,000 to avoid any police action,” said an officer of Alipore police station.

But the man refused, prompting Sarkar and Biswas to lower the amount to Rs 30,000. The owner was told that the money was to be handed over in front of the Alipore police court gate on January 31.

“We, meanwhile, received the tip-off and asked the man to turn up with two bundles, each bearing a Rs 500-note on top and below, at the CID headquarters. As soon as Biswas and Sarkar took the bundles from him on the ground floor, they were taken into custody,” the officer said.

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