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Mendicant held for elderly attack

The mendicant who allegedly hit an elderly resident of a Camac Street high-rise and robbed her was arrested from Howrah on Thursday.

Residents of the apartment at 25/B Camac Street, where the youth had been a frequent visitor, knew him as Shani Maharaj but police said his real name is Prakash Sharma. “The 29-year-old has been arrested from Chengail in Howrah,” said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, joint commissioner (crime).

The accused had been visiting the building, clad in saffron robes, to collect alms for a decade but none of the residents knew anything about him.

During investigation, police came to know about a community, whose members call themselves Shani Maharaj, wear saffron and visit households to collect alms.

“One such Shani Maharaj identified Prakash Sharma from the pictures we showed him,” said a senior officer of the detective department’s anti-homicide section. Prakash’s images had been captured on a CCTV camera installed in the lobby of the 10-storey building.

After leaving the building on the day of the assault, Sharma walked up to the Park Street-JL Nehru Road crossing and boarded a Howrah-bound bus from there.

Police are yet to recover the white kurta he was wearing on the day of the assault. “He confessed that he changed his clothes while going down the stairs as the bloodstains could have raised suspicion. We are yet to recover his clothes and the ornaments,” an officer said.