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Boy catches, cop drops

- Injured youth holds on to thief but gang rescues mate from police

Durgapur, June 17: A youth was courageous enough to catch a robber in Andal last night but a lone police officer was caught by surprise by a gang that waylaid the jeep, launched an attack and freed their accomplice.

The dramatic capture and the shameful escape unfolded after 20 robbers with firearms and bombs looted a retired miner’s house in Andal.

Madanmohan Chowdhury, the 70-year-old retired miner of Eastern Coalfields Limited whose Andal house the robbers attacked, said: “We were sleeping when the goons knocked on the door around 1am. My son opened the door and they barged in with revolvers and daggers. They put off the lights in the rooms immediately and demanded the keys to the almirah. They carried out the operation using torches.”

Son Anjan said the robbers kicked his wife and sister when they refused to hand over their gold earrings and chains. “When I attempted to call the police, the robbers threatened to kill me. They took away Rs 15,000 in cash and ornaments worth Rs 2.5 lakh,” the 45-year-old chemist said.

After the 45-minute heist at Sinduli in Andal, the gang knocked on Madanmohan’s neighbour’s door.

When they were about to enter electrician Narayan Roy’s home, they spotted three policemen nearby and started running. The two constables and assistant sub-inspector Tapan Dubey had come from the Bonbohal outpost after being alerted by residents.

Narayan’s son Dipen caught one of the robbers, seeing which another of the gang threw a bomb, injuring the 22-year-old. The robbers could not take away their associate as Dipen held on to him despite falling to the ground with bomb splinters in his legs.

The lone robber, whose identity is not yet known, was handed over to the three policemen, two of whom stood guard at the colony.

When Dubey was on his way to the police outpost 5km from Sinduli, the robbers lying in wait threw two bombs at the jeep.

The ASI said he “panicked” and let the lone robber escape. “I panicked after the robbers hurled two bombs targeting my jeep. They took away their man. I was alone and could not resist them,” Dubey said.

“I caught the robber, risking my life and handed him over to the police but he managed to escape,” Dipen said from his hospital bed. “When we informed the police that a gang of robbers had broken into the house, why did only three policemen come? We suspect that they are hand-in-glove with the gang,” he said.