An excavator digs out the remains of the truck along NH34 in Old Malda on Monday. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, Aug. 26: A truck which had gone missing on August 8 was dismantled and buried near a paddy field in Old Malda.
The engine and other parts of the 10-wheeled truck were dug out today after police had traced the vehicle by tracking the Global Positioning System (GPS) on the mobile phones of the driver and the helper.
The truck had left Kalyani in Nadia for Siliguri with 425 bags of cement on August 8. The tyres and the cement were recovered from Old Malda today.
According to Malda police superintendent, Kalyan Mukherjee, a GPS had been fitted to the truck but it was dismantled 6km from Old Malda.
The police also tapped the conversations on the mobile phones of the driver and helper which helped locate the truck and the stolen cement.
Mukherjee said the owner of the truck had been called to Malda and efforts were on to locate the absconding driver and helper.
“A team of police officers from Kalyani met me on Saturday and said a 10-wheeled truck carrying 425 bags of cement had left Nadia for Siliguri on August 8 and had gone missing. The consignment was supposed to be delivered to an address in Siliguri on August 10. However, the owner of the vehicle lodged a complaint with the Kalyani police station on August 24. The Kalyani police informed me that according to the truck company, the GPS installed in the vehicle had been disconnected within a 6km radius of Old Malda police station,” Mukherjee said.
The Malda police chief said he had formed a four-member team who began tracking the mobile phones of the driver Bishnu Mondal, 25 and helper, Syed Ali, 22, both residents of the Narsigkuppa area of Englishbazar.
Mukherjee said by following the mobile phones, the cement bags could be tracked down to a godown in Khejuria Mission Road in Old Malda.
The police are looking for the owner of the godown, the police superintendent said.
“Following the mobile tracking, we found the truck buried beside NH34 in Naranpur yesterday. With the help of an excavator, the truck was dug out. We recovered 10 wheels from a garage in Old Malda,” Mukherjee said.
The Malda police chief, however, said the exact reason behind the theft of the cement and the burying of the truck was yet to be established.
“We have learnt from the owner of the truck that his regular driver and helper were on leave and he had hired part timers. It could be possible that these two had sold the cement and then buried the dismantled truck with a plan to sell off the engine and other parts later,” Mukherjee said.
He added that the wooden body of the truck was dismantled into small bits and buried beside the highway.
“The site where the truck was buried was within 1km of the godown from where the stolen cement was found. We had a very tedious time in recovering the dismantled truck as the excavator had to be pressed into service during rains,” Mukherjee said.