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Gang of eight loots flat

Eight masked men, some of them carrying firearms, broke into a first-floor apartment in a three-storeyed building in Birati early on Monday and robbed gold jewellery worth Rs 2.5 lakh, other valuables and Rs 10,000 in cash.

Police said three of the men were arrested a few minutes later following a call from a neighbour, who was alerted by the screams of the residents of another flat in the building the gang was trying to break into.

“Part of valuables looted from the first flat has been recovered. These include Rs 5,500, a pair of earrings, bangles, two watches and a digital camera,” said a police officer.

According to the police, the gang entered the apartment block at Mahajatinagar, around 500m from VIP Road, around 2.30am.

“I was alone at home, watching a World Cup match. My wife had gone to a relative’s house. They broke open the lock of the grille-gate on the ground floor and came upstairs,” said flat owner Dilip Saha, who runs a business of supplying surgical instruments.

“They broke open the door of my apartment, too. I did not hear any noise of locks being broken, probably because the volume of the TV set had been turned up.”

Saha was shocked when eight masked men with daggers and shovels barged into the room. “One of them dangled a knife in front of my throat, ordering me not to shout. Some them were brandishing firearms. I didn’t dare raise a hue and cry,” said Saha. “Following their order, I handed over to them the keys to the almirah.”

The robbers took out jewellery, cash and a camera from the almirah. Before leaving Saha’s apartment, they took away his cellphones.

Saha said the gang then targeted the flat of his brother Dipak, on the same floor. “They did not get anything as the flat was mostly empty,” said Saha.

According to the police, the robbers next went to the third-floor apartment of Atanu Dutta and wife Sweta.

“I was in the living room washing the feeding bottle of my two-and-a-half-month-old son when I realised some people were trying to break open the main door,” recounted Sweta. “I immediately ran to the bedroom and bolted it from inside. I alerted my husband and we started shouting for help standing in front of a window facing the road.”

The couple’s screams alerted a neighbour and also prompted the robbers to flee. The neighbour immediately called the police.

“Our officers could reach the spot within a couple of minutes because the neighbour gave us the exact address,” said Santosh Nimbalkar, the deputy commissioner of police, Bidhananagar commissionerate. “When one of our vehicles that was patrolling Jessore Road reached Mahajatinagar, the gang started fleeing. Our officers chased and caught one of them.”

The cops asked the man they caught to call his aides. “Two others fell in the trap and were caught in front of the gate No. 2 of the airport.”