A man posing as a temple representative collecting donations robbed a homemaker while she was alone in her flat in Garia on Tuesday morning.
Jaita Chowdhury, 37, answered the doorbell around 10.45am and saw a man clad in a white dhoti and white panjabi, and sporting a red vermilion mark on the forehead. He sought money for a yagna at a Lake Road temple, the woman told police.
Jaita’s husband Suman was in office, while the couple’s six-year-old daughter Raima was in school.
“I asked the man to wait at the door and went to my bedroom to fetch money. On my way back I saw him approach the bedroom. I got scared and immediately handed him the money,” recounted Jaita, who lives in a third-floor flat in Narayan Apartment, a few blocks from the busy Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Road.
The man in his early 30s, who the woman said was speaking Bengali in a Hindi accent, then asked for water.
“I picked a bottle from the dining table and was about to hand it to him when he took out a knife and held it to my waist. He demanded everything I had,” Jaita said.
According to the homemaker, the man took away her gold earrings, gold chain, two rings and a gold bangle. “Before leaving he threatened me with dire consequences if I raised an alarm. I feared for my daughter’s safety and alerted my husband after she had returned home,” Jaita said.
The family lodged a complaint with Patuli police station only on Wednesday morning.
The police said Jaita’s description of the man matched with that of the one who the guard of the apartment block said had entered the building on Tuesday morning.
“The man, according to guard Narsimha Harijan, said he wanted to visit the second-floor apartment of Shekhar Mukherjee,” said an officer. Mukherjee said no such person had come to his flat.
A neighbour said a man of similar description, seeking money for a temple, had come to his flat around 10.30am on Tuesday. “He was carrying a receipt book. But I could not trust him and showed him the door,” said Debabrata Chowdhury, who lives in a building near Narayan Apartment.
A security company mistook a PVD check for robbery and sent police in a tizzy. A PVD team forcibly got into a van of the firm that was carrying money for ATMs and took it to a garage in Joka on Wednesday evening. An employee in the van alerted police, who tracked down the vehicle using the cell phone tower location and found PVD inspectors checking the vehicle’s paper.