The residence-cum-clinic of NN Tripathy on Water Works Road in Sakchi on Tuesday. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
They came as patients, but left as robbers with the booty worth over Rs 7 lakh.
The daring hold-up took place at the residence-cum-clinic of well-known city general physician N.N. Tripathy around 8.30am on Tuesday. Police have begun investigations, but are yet to identify any of the four culprits who had half their faces covered, apparently to beat the morning chill.
According to Dr Tripathy, the doorbell at his double-storey Water Works Road residence in Sakchi rang half an hour before the scheduled clinic time of 9am.
“My wife Radha answered the door. There were four people outside and at least two of them looked very sick. One was even clasping his stomach as if in acute pain,” the elderly doctor told this correspondent in the evening still trying to come to terms with the reality.
Tripathy’s unsuspecting wife let the four into the clinic and the doctor too went to attend them before time.
“Three of them seemed to be in their early twenties and one was at least 30 years old. When I asked who the patient was, the tallest of them rose to lie down on the bed where I could examine him,” the doctor said.
No sooner did Tripathy approach his ‘patient’, the latter fished out a pistol and pressed it against the temple of the 66-year-old man. Tripathy was forced to lead the way into his house at gunpoint.
Besides his wife Radha, their daughter Sunita — who teaches at a Haryana college and is on vacation — was present inside. Regular domestic help Sonu had not turned up for work.
“The tall guy kept watch, while the others rummaged through the living room and bedrooms. We were asked to surrender our cellphones. They dismantled the handsets and then took keys to the almirahs,” Tripathy said.
He added that they had lost around Rs 10,000 in cash and gold ornaments worth almost Rs 7 lakh.
Their ordeal notwithstanding, the doctor recalled that the gang was polite with them. “We were offered seats and water during our hour-long confinement.”
Radha said the robbers also spared her mangalsutra while they relieved her of other gold ornaments.
The gang left the family locked up in a room and the latter had to break open the door to contact police.
City SP Kartik S. and DSP (city) K.N. Chowdhury visited the crime site.
Officer-in-charge of Sakchi police station I.B. Ojha said they had registered an FIR and launched a probe. “We are in the process of gathering clues that might lead us to the criminals,” he added.