Robbers broke into the office and house of a Howrah-based caterer on Sunday and took away Rs 4 lakh in cash and jewellery.
The gang worked with such precision that none of the neighbours in the densely populated area suspected anything. The house is just two minutes away from the busy Sarat Road and only half a kilometre from Kona Expressway. The Chatterjeehaat investigation centre is only 1.5 km from the spot.
The robbers took away all mobile phones, disconnected the landline and locked up everyone in a washroom before leaving.
A dozen men, all in their mid-twenties and clad in jeans and T-shirts, entered the three- storeyed house of Samiran Banerjee, 56, at Chatterjeehaat around 2.45pm and held three of his employees at gunpoint in the ground-floor office.
| The ransacked house of the Banerjees. (Gopal Senapati)
“The men barged into the office and shut the door. Three of them pointed guns at the three employees and made them lie on the ground. When another employee stepped out a washroom, a robber held him at gunpoint and asked him to lead them to the first floor,” Banerjee said.
Banerjee was asleep on the first floor when one of his employees, Rabindranath Giri, called him up and asked him to open the collapsible gate at the entrance to the floor. As soon as the gate was opened, four robbers pounced on Banerjee and one of them held a gun to his head.
The men then asked Banerjee for the almirah keys and he obeyed. The robbers took away Rs 2.5 lakh from the almirah. “The men even made me give away my gold chain and three gold rings,” Banerjee said.
The robbers then took Banerjee to the third floor, where his wife was watching television. “They threatened to shoot me if she did not give away her ornaments. She obeyed and after clearing the almirah, the robbers took us to the first-floor bathroom and locked three of us inside. A few minutes later, they brought the three other employees and locked them up with us. They threatened to blow up the house if we raised an alarm,” Banerjee said.
It was only around 10 minutes later that Banerjee managed to call out to a neighbour. Police suspect the robbers may have had insider help.