The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Spray’ heist in Golf Green

The cops were there till 3 am, then the robbers took over. They zeroed in on a building in Golf Green, sprayed a chemical to ensure that the family slept through the raid, broke open the window-grille and then ransacked the ground-floor apartment.

Busting the myth of beefed-up security at Golf Green, a gang of goons raided the residence of Banikantha Mukherjee and wife Shukla early on Friday. As Banikantha, an engineer with a private firm, Shukla, a cookery expert, and their 17-year-old daughter slept soundly under the influence of some “sleep-inducing spray”, the robbers decamped with electronic goods, a cellphone, jewellery and other valuables.

“The theft must have taken place between 3 am and 6 am, as a police patrol was in the area till 3 in the morning,” said Swapan Bagchi, inspector-in-charge of Jadavpur police station.

A bent and broken window grille of the two-storeyed house on Prince Ghulam Hussain Shah Road bore testimony to the night raiders. Inside, the Mukherjees were struggling to cope with the shock invasion.

“Electronic goods, including a hi-tech stereo, an expensive watch, a camera, a cellphone, jewellery and cash were stolen,” said Shukla, adding that the robbers must have sprayed chloroform in their bedroom.

“My husband was busy with some office work till 3 in the morning. I woke up at 6 am, feeling very drowsy. The room was full of a strange smell,” recounted Shukla.

When she entered the adjoining room, she found a windowpane broken. “The room had been ransacked and we hadn’t heard a thing. The almirah was broken and all our valuables were missing. Even the divan was broken,” she added.

Preliminary investigations point towards an ‘inside’ hand. “The robbers seem to know exactly when to strike and how,” said Swapan Bagchi. Police are interrogating domestic helps for a possible lead. The Mukherjees, however, blamed it on police inaction. “We are constantly hearing of attempted robberies in our locality, but nothing has been done,” alleged Shukla.

Following Friday’s incident, residents are planning to form a team of night guards. Police, too, are looking at reviving resistance groups in the area. “We assure residents of all support,” said Bagchi.

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