Shiv Kumar Pandey at MGM hospital on Monday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
A senior citizen was allegedly administered a blackout spray and robbed of cash, a gold ring and his mobile phone near GEL Church in Sitaramdera police station area early on Monday.
Police have contested the spray theory, but lodged a theft case based on victim Shiv Kumar Pandey’s statement.
The 60-year-old — who has been admitted to MGM Medical College and Hospital with a fractured hand and swollen face, injuries sustained when he dropped unconscious — said he was on his way to Tatanagar station when he was attacked.
“I needed to catch the 6.15am Steel Superfast Express to Calcutta. I left my New Layout home on a scooter around 5.20am. It was still dark. Barely 300 metres later, while I was negotiating a speed-breaker on the Sitaramdera-Agrico Road, I felt something being sprayed to my face. I felt dizzy and then it seemed someone pushed me off my vehicle,” the elderly told reporters at the hospital.
When Pandey opened his eyes, it was daylight and he was lying on the road. He remembered seeing no one, but insisted that he had sensed more than one person around him when he was blacking out.
“There was blood on my face and there was an acute pain in my right hand. Two morning-walkers took me home and my family members brought me here (MGM),” he said, adding that Rs 2,500 went missing from his pocket and wallet, along with his finger ring and phone, which was in one of the pockets of his trousers.
Pandey claimed that he had taken the Steel Express many times in the past, but never felt so vulnerable. “Parking my scooter at the station and catching the morning train was nothing new. However, I never encountered such a situation before.”
Sitaramdera officer-in-charge sub-inspector Indubhushan Kumar had a conflicting reaction.
“It is true that he (Pandey) was relieved of his cellphone, cash and gold ring on his way to Tatanagar station, but he lost them after meeting with an accident at the bump near GEL Church,” he said.
The officer claimed police had patrolled roads in Sitaramdera throughout the night and till 5am. “There were no unwanted people roaming around. Pandey is an old man and was riding an old scooter. The streetlights were also dim. He must have missed the bump and fallen off the two-wheeler. There were no criminals around. But, we are still probing the incident and are trying to nab culprits,” he said.