The latch that the robbers broke open. Picture by Bibhash Lodh
Burglars broke into two houses in the Baishnabghata-Patuli township on the southern fringe of the city and made away with cash and jewellery worth more than Rs 5 lakh while the residents were away watching immersion at a nearby lake on Dashami evening.
The burglars entered the two-storey house of Biswajit Bhattacharjee by breaking open a locked latch on the rear door. Bhattacharjee, his wife and their 14-year-old son returned home around 10.30pm to find the house ransacked. “The lockers in both almirahs in the bedrooms were broken and the cash and jewellery gone,” Bhattacharjee said.
Samar Das returned to his ground-floor house in Baishnabghata Bylane around the same time to find the window grille broken. Cash and jewellery worth Rs 60,000 were missing.
Police suspect the same gang was at work in both burglaries. “We have been collecting forensic samples and investigation has begun,” a senior officer of Patuli police station said.
The twin burglaries come close on the heels of another one in the area on Saptami evening. Debobrota Chowdhury had gone pandal-hopping with his family and returned home around midnight to find cash and jewellery worth close to Rs 40,000 gone.
The city’s ever-expanding fringe areas, especially areas off the Bypass with their poorly lit streets and apartments sandwiched between buildings under construction, have become happy hunting ground for robbers.
A robbery at green energy expert S.P. Gon Chaudhuri’s home off the EM Bypass last month had underscored the lack of policing on the outskirts and highlighted that nothing has changed in the two years since these areas came under Calcutta police’s jurisdiction.
The police blame stingy fuel allotment for their inability to patrol the lanes and bylanes. During Puja, patrolling was further reduced as the cops were posted near pandals.
Salt Lake theft
Two youths carrying laptop bags attacked an elderly man and his daughter after they were caught cleaning out their Salt Lake flat on Saptami afternoon. The burglars fled with cash and jewellery worth over Rs 2 lakh.
Arunodoy Bhattacharya, 69, returned to his flat in a government housing complex at Bichitra Abasan in BC Block of Salt Lake with his daughter around 3pm. The latch bolt on the main door was missing and so was the lock. The door was closed from inside.
When Bhattacharya rang the doorbell, a young man opened the door and pushed him aside in a bid to flee. Another youth pulled out an iron rod and hit the elderly man on his head. “The man hit my daughter too,” he said.