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Woman catches snatcher after chase

A 27-year-old homemaker wearing a sari ran after a man and grabbed him by his collar after he allegedly snatched her cell phone on a bus and jumped off the vehicle on BT Road near Sodepur on Monday morning.

After catching the man, Tapaleena Bhattacharya forced him to accompany her to Khardah police station in an autorickshaw and got him arrested.

The police, however, said the phone could not be found on the accused — identified as Sheikh Montu, 33, a resident of Agarpara in North 24-Parganas. The complainant said she was sitting near the front door of a bus on route 78/1 while on the way home to Khardah from her parents’ house in Baranagar.

She said she was speaking over the phone when a man snatched it and jumped through the front door of the bus. “I screamed and tried to hold on to his hand but failed. I then tugged at the bell to alert the driver to stop the bus and jumped off,” recounted Bhattacharya.

“With high heels and sari, it was difficult for me to run. So I took off the shoes and started running after him, shouting ‘chor chor’.”

Alerted by her screams, a few auto drivers joined Bhattacharya in the chase. The group soon caught up with Montu, Bhattacharya grabbing him by his collar. She recounted the “snatching” to the people who had surrounded them.

The bus conductor, too, had by then come to the spot and supported the woman’s version. The local people took Montu to a nearby traffic kiosk, where a civic police volunteer and a traffic constable were present.

The constable searched the youth but failed to find the phone. “I had seen the man pass on the phone to a youth wearing a pink shirt in front of the civic police volunteer. But when I asked the volunteer, he claimed not to have seen any such thing. He said he had only found a few coins in the man’s pocket,” she said.

Accompanied by auto drivers and the civic cop, Bhattacharya dragged the man to Khardah police station in a three-wheeler, lodged a complaint and got him arrested.

“I was adamant not to let the man go. I protest whenever I see anything wrong and will keep doing so. It would have been better had the police showed more competence and recovered my phone,” said Bhattacharya, preparing for exams for government and bank jobs.

The police dubbed Montu “a habitual offender”.

“He has been arrested on several occasions. Criminals like him generally have aides around them to pass on stolen items. He may have done something similar this time. too. We will question him further,” said an officer of the police station.