The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Shop robbery for Puja spree

The gang of five was out to grab some Puja pocket money — enough to buy them new motorcycles and clothes, and leave some to spare for five days of fun. That was on Thursday night.

Three of them spent Friday night behind bars, with the other two on the run. The great Puja dream — to be achieved by more crook than hook — has turned into a nightmare for the five young fun-seekers.

Five students of a popular Bengali-medium school in Dum Dum tried to rob an LPG dealer’s outlet late on Thursday, after plotting the strike for several days. They had even stolen the schoolbag of a classmate to leave it at the site of the crime and frame him.

M.H. Verma, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, said on Friday: “It was evident that the boys had been planning the heist for quite some time, as they had worked out every detail.” Verma added that the three students, now in police custody, had confessed they “needed” the money to enjoy themselves during the Pujas.

All five were from “middle-class homes”, officers said. “We were extremely surprised by the manner in which they plotted the dacoity to spend a fun-filled Puja,” they added.

The five teenagers assembled near the gas outlet late on Thursday. Their movements, however, aroused suspicion among local residents and passersby. Some of them called up Dum Dum police station. By the time the police arrived on the spot, the five had not managed to make much headway in their plans to rob the outlet. Two of the boys spotted the police vehicles approaching and made a run for it. The three others were picked up without much resistance.

The planning for the heist had begun long before the boys arrived at the site. They committed the first “crime” — pinching the bag of a fellow-student — to save their skin after the second.

The plan, clearly, was to leave behind the bag at the outlet to throw investigators off the right track and land their classmate in trouble. “Their objective was to put us on to the wrong boy,” an officer said, adding that the “deviousness” of the plot was “quite surprising”.

A team from Dum Dum police station visited the school on Friday. They spoke to classmates, friends and teachers of the two boys who are still at large. Sleuths also went to the houses of the two students. “We are confident of tracking them down soon,” officers said.

nFunds for B.C. Roy Hospital: The government has allotted Rs 10 crore for the construction of an annexe building at B.C. Roy Memorial Hospital for Children at Phoolbagan. Fourteen children died in the hospital between September 1 and 2. Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said at Writers’ Buildings on Friday that some sophisticated instruments were also being purchased to improve the infrastructure at the hospital.

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