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Shot in snatch zone, biker rides to cops

- Nine robbery cases on Asansol-Kulti road in three months; traders afraid to travel at night
Mukherjee in hospital. Picture by Gour Sharma

Durgapur, Aug. 20: A gang of snatchers last night shot a man on a bike in a crime-prone area near Asansol but the victim, with the bullet in his back, rode to a police station 4km away and reported the crime before passing out.

Residents of Kulti, who usually avoid the Sripur Road after sunset, said last night’s robbery bid was the ninth case in the area in three months.

Subhajit Mukherjee, 38, who works with a private investment company in Asansol, was returning home to Kulti and had Rs 10,000 with him when four youths ordered him at gunpoint to stop on the Sripur Road at 9pm.

Mukherjee initially slowed down in an attempt to mislead the gang but accelerated soon and tried to speed away. One of the youths then shot at Mukherjee, hitting him near the spine.

“I was scared. I had Rs 10,000 with me that I had collected from my clients in Salanpur. I thought the robbers would move out of the way if I increased the speed, and they did so. But one of them fired and the bullet hit me in the back. I was afraid if I stopped, they would kill me. So I continued riding,” Mukherjee said later.

He rode his bike for over 10 minutes and collapsed outside the Kulti police station, but not before he had narrated the incident to a constable.

“I saw a bike zigzagging towards the police station at high speed. The man screeched in front of the gates and fell to the ground with the motorbike. I rushed towards him and found him groaning in pain. Blood was oozing out from what appeared to be a bullet injury in the back. He said he was shot at by some youths on Sripur Road,” the constable at Kulti police station said

A police team went to the spot but could not trace the gang.

Kulti residents accused the police of having done little to curb crime in the area despite several complaints.

Ram Dudani, the president of the Barakar Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said traders were scared the most because they often travelled with money at night.

Subrata Ganguly, the additional deputy commissioner of police (west), said the repeated cases of robbery were being probed into with “seriousness”.

“We have arrested a gang involved in several burglaries on roads. The youths flee to bordering districts in Jharkhand after robberies.”

Till late tonight, no arrests were made in connection with yesterday’s attack.

Mukherjee was admitted to Asansol subdivisional hospital where doctors said he was out of danger. “The bullet had got lodged close to his spinal cord. We removed it and the patient is recovering now,” said Nikhil Das, the hospital superintendent.

Had the bullet pierced through the body, it could have been fatal because the patient would have lost a lot of blood, the doctor added.