Malda, Aug. 24: Police tracked down and killed a robber after his gang tried to waylay a group of traders and injured one of them on National Highway 34 near Mohonagram this morning.
Police said 32 leather traders of Kaliachak had hired a van and set off for the weekly market at Mathurapur early this morning. Around 6, about a dozen dacoits tried to stop the vehicle at gunpoint. When the driver tried to speed away, one of them fired. The bullet pierced the chest of Mozzam Sheikh, who is in hospital.
When a large police contingent led by superintendent Pankaj Dutta reached the spot, villagers guided it to a sugarcane field near Bangalgram village where they had taken shelter.
After encircling the field, police asked the dacoits to surrender. But the robbers fired, resulting in an hour-long exchange.
Sheikh Alah, 38, was killed and two others were injured. Police arrested five dacoits.
“The gang comprises men from Bihar, but most of them were from Malda’s Kaliachak area,” Dutta said. Alah and the two injured criminals, Mahi Sheikh and Lablu Sheikh, were from Kaliachak.
Mozzam, who is recovering in Malda General Hospital, said they were carrying more than Rs 2 lakh in cash. “The dacoits tried to shoot the driver, but he ducked and the bullet hit me,” he said.
Three more dacoits were held in Gajole when they were planning to loot a Calcutta-bound bus. The gang was picked up by highway patrol when they tried to board a private bus near Gajole.
Police admitted robberies were becoming regular on National Highway 34. “We have increased the number of mobile patrols along the highway to prevent such incidents,” Dutta said.
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