Swati Das recounts her ordeal. (Sanat Kr Sinha)
A woman was gagged and held at gunpoint as two youths cleaned out her flat near Ranikuthi on Thursday afternoon. The robbery was carried out so swiftly and with such precision that neighbours in the densely populated locality suspected nothing.
The youths entered the apartment on the third floor of the four-storey building around 12.30pm and stayed there for about 30 minutes.
“There was a knock and the moment I opened the door, two youths with their faces covered pushed me into the room and gagged me,” said Swati Das, who was alone at home at the time.
Her sons — Pritam, 17, and Subhajit, 24 — had gone to a relative’s house nearby and her husband, Sibangshu, an assistant librarian at an engineering college at Bedberia in South 24-Parganas, was at work.
What surprised police as well as the Das family is that the robbers entered only one room. “The robbers did not even try to enter any other room in the flat. They went into one room and took away valuables from the almirah and left,” said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, joint commissioner of police (crime).
The first thing the robbers did on entering the room was to close the windows, shut a door leading to a balcony and pull the curtains.
The robbers then asked for the keys to the almirah. Swati initially refused but gave in after the intruders threatened her. “They shouted at me ‘toke jaan-e mere debo (We will kill you)’,” said Swati. The youths seemed to be in their twenties and spoke in Bengali, she said.
The youths held a gun at Swati and forced her to open the almirah. “I myself took out the clothes and threw them on the floor. When they did not find anything on the racks, they asked me to open the locker,” said Swati. “They took away Rs 15,000, a pair of bangles, a pair of earrings and a ring from the locker.”
After the youths left, Swati shut the door and ran to the balcony to raise the alarm.
“It seems they fled via the roof. The houses here are so close to each other that one can jump from one roof to another. If they had taken the stairs, my son would have noticed them as he returned home just then,” Sibangshu said.
Thief held: Shaheer Kalam, 34, a resident of the Marquis Street area, was arrested on Thursday for allegedly stealing cash and ornaments together worth around Rs 6 lakh from a relative’s house. The booty was recovered.