The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Asim covers cash to crime

If you think you have seen the many avatars of Asim Dasgupta — traffic manager, anti-smoking crusader, eve-teasing-stopper … — think again. Here’s the latest: Asim Dasgupta, the crime-buster.

And just in case you’ve lost your way in the maze of missions, the man is also the beleaguered finance minister of a cash-haemorrhaged state, where the government is forced to freeze DA arrears and slash Puja bonus.

Dasgupta, a resident of Salt Lake, is now busy playing ‘para’ vigilante. Petty criminals have, of late, swarmed FE Block, where the minister stays. And Dasgupta’s neighbours have quickly queued up outside his FE-145 gate, requesting him to “direct the police to catch the thieves’’.

A task the finance minister has taken up in right earnest — calling up senior Salt Lake police officers, directing them to step up operations and personally monitoring the investigations.

“I am just doing my duty as a conscientious resident of FE Block,” he told Metro. “I am using my good offices as a minister to stop the rising incidents of crime and ensure that there is peace in our locality.’’

Thieves targeted Suresh Gupta’s house at FE-138, just behind the finance minister’s residence, last week. “They tried to take a purse, a pair of trousers and some other clothes with a pole through an open window on the ground floor. But my son woke up and raised an alarm, thwarting their bid,” said Gupta, who has earlier been robbed of his car batteries and other valuables. None of the stolen items could be traced.

“Asimbabu has assured me that he will speak to the police about this and ensure that the case is taken up,’’ added Gupta.

Another target last week was Shiv Shankar Ghosh’s house at FE-140. Shiuli Ghosh, Shiv Shankar’s wife, was sleeping on the first floor when two miscreants climbed up the pipe and broke open the lock of the door leading into the house from the balcony. Shiuli, however, woke up suddenly and spied the criminals. She started screaming for help, forcing the thieves to beat a hasty retreat, a Bidhannagar police officer said.

“Asimbabu has been a great help,” Shiuli later said. “Senior officers came to check if everything was okay… Policemen are now regularly patrolling the area,” she added.

Ajay Kejriwal of FE-487 lost his car stereo last week.

With the finance minister stepping in, police have introduced round-the-clock patrolling on bicycles and motorcycles. “We suspect that two groups are operating in FE Block,” additional superintendent of police Ajay Nanda said. “We have information that they are entering the township, committing the crime and slipping out. We hope to nab them soon,” he added.

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