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Snatching bids foiled

Two snatchers targeted women on busy south Calcutta roads on Wednesday but were caught by pedestrians.

The first incident happened on Southern Avenue around 2.45pm and the second on Syed Amir Ali Avenue around 6.30pm.

Shradhha Goel, 38, had just stepped out of a house on Southern Avenue with her businessman husband after attending a shraddh and was about to get into their car parked at the Lake View Road crossing when her chain was snatched.

“A man who was standing nearby pounced on the woman and tried to run away with her gold chain,” said a police officer.

Goel, a resident of Pratapaditya Road, raised the alarm. Her screams alerted some pedestrians, who caught up with the snatcher. A police patrol team rushed to the spot within minutes and the chain was recovered.

Officers of Lake police station identified the snatcher as Mohammad Haider Ali, 24, a resident of Alimuddin Street.

A resident of Southern Avenue voiced concern over the daylight crime. “Early-morning snatchings are common but now it seems afternoons are no longer safe either.”

The Lake snatching saw a near-rerun at Park Circus in the evening. A 56-year-old woman, on her way home from office, was seated in her car parked near a sweet shop on Syed Amir Ali Avenue when a snatcher grabbed at her gold chain.

Police said the chain slipped into the woman’s clothes. She started shouting and some youths caught the snatcher, who was later handed over to the Karaya police. He was identified as Sheikh Montu, 30, a resident of Jannagar Road.

Police records show that Montu is skilled in snatching chains from women in cars and buses at traffic signals.

“Both accused were arrested within minutes of the incidents. The alacrity with which the victims reacted is commendable,” said the deputy commissioner (southeast division) Debabrata Das.

Fraud held

A man was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly posing as a fakir and taking Rs 65,200 from a resident of Charu Market to perform a ritual to drive off his tenants. According to the complaint, Roshan Ansari had promised Pronab Kumar Chatterjee that if the ritual was performed, the tenants would leave.