A pickpocket made off with a licensed pistol that a trader from Punjab was carrying in a crowded Calcutta bus on Saturday afternoon.
Sukhbinder Singh, a grain merchant, along with two friends had reached the city from Bhatinda on Friday with a gun licence issued by the Punjab administration.
“Singh came to Calcutta to buy a pistol from the Cossipore Gun and Shell Factory. He went to the ordnance factory on Friday and bought a .32 bore pistol and returned to the guest house on BB Ganguly Street where he was staying,” said an officer of Bowbazar police station where the trader had lodged a complaint about the theft.
“On Saturday, he threw a party for his friends at the guest house to celebrate his new acquisition,” the officer said.
“After the party ended around 4pm, Singh left for Howrah station to board a train back to Bhatinda.”
Singh was wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. Before leaving the hotel, he tucked the firearm in his waist, under the tee.
He and his friends walked down to the BB Ganguly Street- CR Avenue crossing and boarded a Howrah-bound bus.
“The bus was crowded and I was struggling with my luggage. After getting down near Howrah station, I felt my waist for the pistol but it was not there,” the man said in his complaint.
The Cossipore factory manufactures the .32 bore pistol for which civilians get a licence. The magazine holds 14 bullets and the gun has a lethal range of 30ft.
A distraught Singh said he always dreamt of owning a licensed gun until the Calcutta pickpocket turned it into a nightmare.