Arun and Bela Majumdar live on the top floor of this Kasba flat. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
An elderly couple were assaulted, gagged, locked in a tiny bathroom and robbed of ornaments worth over Rs 1 lakh in their Jahura Bazar Lane home, Kasba, on Friday.
The robber allegedly rang the doorbell and several times called out chhoto maa (aunt) — which is how 65-year-old Bela Majumdar’s relatives and acquaintances address her. She thought somebody known to them was at the door.
Bela opened the door at 11.30am and all hell broke loose after that. The intruder barged in and went straight for her throat.
“He put his other hand on my mouth and asked me where my ornaments are,” she said recounting the hour-long horror in her top-floor flat.
The robber pushed the woman, who is paralysed from the left shoulder down by a cerebral stroke some years ago, and went for her husband Arun Majumdar, 80.
He was in the bathroom and did not have any clue about the trespass.
Bela said the man pulled off her husband’s lungi and tied her hands with it.
He then tore off a part of the sari she was wearing to gag her and tie her husband’s hands before locking them up in the bathroom.
“He shoved us with such force that my husband hit the bathroom wall and started bleeding from his head. He can barely move about and lay there semiconscious… so did I,” she said.
They remained locked in the bathroom for more than 30 minutes and, in the meantime, the robber scoured the two bedrooms and the living room but did not ransack the house.
The couple said in their police complaint that the man left with a gold chain, a pair of earrings and a gold-plated steel bangle — together worth over Rs 1 lakh — Bela was wearing. No other valuables were lost since he couldn’t open the steel wardrobe.
After a while she managed to get the gag-piece off her mouth, untie herself and shout for help through the bathroom window.
A maid on the ground floor heard her distress call about 10 minutes later and rushed to the couple’s rescue. She unlocked the door latched from the outside and got them out of the bathroom.
The couple’s daughter Arpita lives with her husband in New Barrackpore on the northern fringe of the city.
Lalbazar officers suspect that the assailant could be a scrap dealer who frequents the area. “We have learnt from family members and neighbours that hawkers often visit the house. We believe this man knew that an elderly couple lived alone in the flat and the woman is referred to as chhoto maa,” an officer said.
The couple denied having seen or known the man.
But Bela said she was surprised that he had “full information” about her jewellery. “After taking the gold chain from my neck, he was asking me about the other necklace,” she said.
The families of three brothers live in the three-storey building named Majumdar Villa, about 500m from the Rashbehari-Ruby connector. Arun Majumdar is the eldest. The relatives said they had no clue when the robber entered the flat.
On December 4, three youths had tied up and gagged a 65-year-old woman in her Kasba flat before looting cash, jewellery and other valuables. Ratna Mukherjee, who lived alone in the second-floor flat on NK Ghosal Road, knew two of the youths.