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Trader house robbed

Asansol, Dec. 30: A gang of armed robbers raided a businessman’s house barely 200m from a police outpost near Asansol last night and took away cash and jewellery estimated by police worth Rs 30 lakh.

The gang beat up 55-year-old Arvind Nehariya, who owns a silicate-manufacturing unit in Barakar, and tied him and his wife with a rope before escaping with the money.

The police said the robbers were four or five in number and came on bikes. The gang could have escaped into Jharkhand, 10km away, in the dead of the night, officers added.

The robbery in Barakar comes within days of a prominent businessman being shot dead in Asansol.

The police said they had ordered a probe, when asked how a robbery could take place in a house just 200m from a police outpost.

According to Nehariya, the gang broke open the collapsible gate and the wooden door of his house before attacking the domestic help, Guddu.

The gang then forced the help to call the businessman and his wife from the room where they were sleeping. “When we opened the door hearing Guddu’s voice, the masked robbers held me and my wife at gunpoint,” Nehariya said.

The “Hindi-speaking” robbers beat up the businessman with sticks when he refused initially to hand over the keys to the almirah.

“After beating me up, one of them held a gun to my forehead. I handed them the keys to the almirah. They then tied me and my wife with a rope and decamped with the cash and ornaments,” he added.

The gang looted Rs 2 lakh in cash and around 500gm of gold jewellery kept in the locker. “They also took away silver utensils and idols of gods and goddesses from another room and decamped,” said Arvind.

The couple do not have a child.

The police said they had started a probe. “We have sealed the border and started checking vehicles soon after we learnt about the incident. We did so to nab the gang in case it is still in Bengal,” said Subrata Ganguly, additional deputy commissioner of police (west).

Asked how could a robbery take place so close to a police outpost, the officer said he had ordered a probe.

Residents and traders today protested against the rising crimes in the area, saying its proximity to the Jharkhand border led to the recent incidents of robberies and other crimes.

“Recently, a gang of robbers raided a jewellery shop in Barakar town and looted gold ornaments. Last night, a house of a businessman was looted. A few months ago, a group robbed a bank in the area. We are feeling scared always and have appealed to the police to step up vigilance,” said Dipak Dudhani, the president Barakar Chamber of Commerce.