The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dacoits cash in on Cup frenzy

Burdwan, Feb. 27: When the nation was glued to television for the India-England clash in Durban last night, a gang of five armed men cleaned up a house in Ichhlabad.

The robbers raided the residence of Subhas Chandra Dutta, an employee at the sub-divisional office here, even as the neighbours were lost in a cacophony of crackers and cheers.

“The youths in the neighbourhood were celebrating the fall of English wickets when we were finishing dinner. The moment we stepped out in the courtyard for a wash, two men emerged from the darkness and held guns at our heads,” said a traumatised Rekha Dutta, Subhas’ wife.

Subhas, his wife and two daughters were packed into a room and tied up as a gun-wielding member of the gang kept vigil. “Two of them pointed guns at my husband and daughters while the others began ransacking the almirah. All of them had their faces covered and had guns. They spoke in Hindi and threatened to rape my daughters if we screamed,” said Rekha.

Subhas’ brother Gurupada, who had gone to see his wife in hospital, returned while the dacoits were still in the house. When he knocked on the door, they dragged him inside and warned him not to raise an alarm. They took away the money he had. The gang left the Duttas with a booty of Rs 15,000 and ornaments.

“We were all awake but rivetted to the television when we heard utensils falling next door. I went out and called but no one responded. This morning, I heard some one moaning. I entered through the open door and found them tied up and lying on the floor. We informed the police,” said Rajib Nath, a neighbour.

Five-year-old Pallabi, who was staying with her aunt as her mother was in hospital, was still cowering from the experience. “They pointed a gun at me and said they will kill me if I made noise,” she recounted.

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