The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Lover’ falls victim to lure-and-loot couple

A 46-year-old man was smitten by a 20-year-old girl, Pooja, about a fortnight ago at a party at a friend’s house in south Calcutta. Little did he realise then that he was stepping into a honey trap, with the girl being part of a bewitch-and-blackmail gang.

But luck ran out for Pooja and husband Arjan Singh, 28, on Monday, when the police raided their apartment in Sodepur, on the northern fringes of the city, and arrested both of them.

Deputy commissioner of police, eastern suburban division, Sanjoy Mukherjee, said the victim of entrapment had fallen for “the tall and attractive” Pooja.

“After the party, they started meeting each other frequently and also spending long hours on the phone,’’ added deputy commissioner Mukherjee.

Police said the man, a co-owner of a liquor retail shop in central Calcutta, did not bother to check on Pooja’s antecedents. “She sold him a sob story of how she was being hounded by men and how she had found a true friend in him,’’ said an officer of Maniktala police station, who was part of the probe team.

On December 13, Pooja called him on his cellphone and asked him to meet her in front of Uttarapan, the shopping complex on CIT Road. When he reached the designated spot on his motorcycle, he found Pooja standing with two men behind her.

Pooja then started screaming that she was being “harassed” by the two men. She rushed to her ‘saviour’ and clung on to him, police said.

Suddenly, another man stepped up, identified himself as Arjan Singh, husband of Pooja, and accused the ‘victim’ of having an affair with his wife. “Arjan roughed up the man and asked him to accompany them to their Sodepur house to settle the matter. Pooja, playing the part of a hapless girl, started crying,’’ Mukherjee said.

Singh then hired a taxi and the three of them got into it. The two men who had accompanied Pooja to the rendezvous took the motorcycle and followed them.

On reaching Sodepur, Singh and the two other men took “Pooja’s friend” to a deserted spot and took away his gold ring, watch and wallet.

“They also forced him to sign on a sheet of paper stating that he had sold his motorcycle to them,’’ the deputy commissioner said.

The victim later lodged a complaint with the Maniktala police station.

“We followed up some leads and raided an apartment in Sodepur where Arjan and Pooja lived. They were taken by surprise and did not resist arrest. Police recovered the motorcycle and some of the stolen goods,’’ said Mukherjee.

“We suspect the couple has trapped and looted other men, as well. Investigations are on,’’ Mukherjee added.

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