|The house off the EM Bypass that was robbed. Pictures by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, Sept. 1: Four armed robbers posing as Puja subscription collectors raided the home of a retired government official at Madurdaha Hussainpur, off the EM Bypass, this evening.
The gang beat up and gagged house owner S.P. Gon Chowdhury, a former director of the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency, and his domestic help Kakali Halder. They took away cash, cellphones, medals and other valuables at gun point. Police said the robbery was worth Rs 12,000.
The retired official’s wife is in London, where their son lives. The couple’s daughter lives in Australia.
The Gon Chowdhurys’ home is part of the Madurdaha Citizens’ Welfare Society, a co-operative with 110 houses and flats. A police kiosk is located at a nearby divider. The house is about 400m from the Avishikta complex on the Bypass.
The police said the robbery took around 15 minutes. None in the quiet neighbourhood had a clue of the heist. No one was arrested till late in the night.
“Gon Chowdhury called me up, saying there was a robbery in his house,” said Baren Sen, a neighbour who rushed to the robbed house along with a group of residents who had assembled to plan for a Durga Puja in the locality.
“We saw the main entrance was locked from outside. So we informed the police,” said Sen, whose house was robbed earlier in 2005.
|A sniffer dog brought
Within minutes, a team arrived from Tiljala police station and broke the lock and entered the house. Later, teams from the Lalbazar detective department came along with sniffer dogs and fingerprint and forensic experts.
The street in front of the house is well-lit but deserted.
The robbers knocked on the door with a subscription receipt book in hand. Kakali, 50, who had been working as a domestic help for the last 10 months, at the house opened the door. The four forced their way inside and took away cash and other valuables.
“We are probing the case. The domestic help is being questioned. We are trying to find out why she opened the door to strangers,” said Debabrata Das, the deputy commissioner of police, south-eastern division.
Police sources said the robbers hit Gon Chowdhury when he had tried to resist them. But he didn’t suffer any serious injury, they added.
The Telegraph had last month highlighted the problems faced by Madurdaha residents in getting their properties mutated and the lack of civic amenities like drainage system in the area