With just eight months to go for his retirement, the long arm of the law caught up with postmaster Amarendranath Sarkar. The cops came knocking on the Sanai post-office door, near Netaji Subhas dock in Kidderpore, late on Tuesday. They pulled out the drawers and rummaged his personal locker to unearth bags full of used and even forged stamps worth several lakhs. Sarkar was swiftly taken into custody.
Deputy commissioner of police (port) H.P. Singh said Sarkar would take off the original and unmarked stamps from letters posted at his office and replace them with used ones taken off the incoming mail. He then used his official seal on the used stamps to hide the switch. As for the incoming letters, Sarkar ensured they would be delivered minus the stamps.
During the course of interrogation, Sarkar named four touts as his partners in the stamp-rip racket. Officer-in-charge of West Port police station Arun Chatterjee led a team of officers to raid houses in Belghoria and Jagaddal through Tuesday night and rounded up three of Sarkar’s associates. Police recovered currency notes adding up to more than a lakh, and two dozen Kisan Vikas Patras from them.
The regional postal department in the city had first got wind of the racket. H.P. Singh said senior superintendent of posts Sushil Kumar had got in touch with him last week with details of the racket. “We scrutinised the documents to understand how Sarkar was pulling it off,’’ Chatterjee said.
On Tuesday evening, the police decided to storm Sarkar’s busy post office on Circular Garden Reach Road. Police claimed that Sarkar admitted to running the racket. The touts, Asit Bhattacharjee of Belghoria, Pradip Sau of Jagaddal and Ram Vijay Singh of Metiabruz, were picked up from their hideout.
According to OC, West Port, the touts would collect incoming letters from Khardah, Jagaddal, Belghoria and Metiabruz. “They would promise people faster delivery through a bigger post office,’’ Chatterjee said. Police suspect they have been operating for the past two years.
Singh said the postal department has filed an FIR against the postmaster and he and the touts have been booked for cheating and forgery. “We are investigating whether others are involved in the racket,’’ he added.