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Gold and cash haul in shanty near rail tracks

Some of the recovered gold coins. Picture by Gopal Senapati

Police recovered on Tuesday a rich haul of 31 gold coins and Rs 6.42 lakh from a shanty by the railway tracks near Santragachhi in Howrah after interrogating a youth held for a failed robbery.

The market price of the gold coins, each weighing about 8gm, could be about Rs 7.3 lakh.

Abdul Rahim, also known as Badshah or Nata, was picked up on December 5 when officers of Jagachha police station in Howrah, who have been looking for him since the failed robbery in May, learnt that he had returned to his shanty.

Rahim, in his mid-20s, cracked during interrogation and told about the gold coins and cash stashed in an almirah in his hut. “Last evening he told us about the booty. We sent a team and recovered the valuables,” an officer said.

“He still hasn’t told us how he got the money and the coins. A goldsmith confirmed that these are genuine gold coins. We will ask experts if these coins have any historical value,” said Nishat Pervez, deputy commissioner, headquarters, Howrah City Police.

Police sources said names and image of some British kings and queens were engraved on the coins.

The police said Rahim would be interrogated further to ascertain whether he stole the coins or was part of a bigger racket that dupe people by selling fake gold coins.

Sheikh Abdul Rashid, a 65-year-old daily wage earner, said his son has been living by the tracks all his life and worked as a helper cleaning weeds in fields and cutting tree branches. Rahim’s father, who does not live in the shanty, revealed that he had seen marked changes in his son’s behaviour and clothes over the past three months.

“He wears expensive clothes these days, beyond his means. He had also bought a motorised van recently but couldn’t justify his source of income. Still, I never thought he will indulge in any wrongdoing,” he said.

Metro had reported in March last year how two persons from Calcutta fell into traps set by frauds selling fake gold coins.

An electrician had told a Salt Lake resident about the discovery of antique coins in a village temple and that somebody was selling them on the cheap. The woman reached Aatpur in Hooghly district with Rs 5 lakh but the villagers chased her out thinking she was a girl trafficker. She lost her bag containing the money.

In the second incident, a central government employee gave Rs 23 lakh to a gang and brought a pot of gold coins back to Calcutta from a village a few km from the city. The coins turned out to be fake.