Even as the cops were busy battling to clear central Calcutta for traffic on Thursday afternoon, a gang of seven stormed a Strand Road office and looted Rs 5.25 lakh at gunpoint.
Deputy commissioner of police (headquarters) K.L. Tamta later said seven Hindi-speaking youths, in jeans and shirts, entered the fourth-floor office of High Rise Roller Mill and Durga Trading Company at around 4.30 pm. It was pay-day for the firm’s employees and contractors from Howrah and Hooghly districts at 40, Strand Road.
When the goons struck, there were around six people in office. The two owners, brothers Ashok and Kishor Sabu, were checking the accounts, while the cashier was doling out the cash.
“Suddenly, five young men, armed with choppers and revolvers, surrounded us and herded us into a small room in one corner of the office,’’ said Ashok. When a couple of the employees hesitated, one of the goons slashed a man on the hand with a chopper, while another employee was hit with the butt of a revolver.
Witnesses said two of the gang members kept vigil by the door, while the rest opened the locker and stashed the cash in a bag. Minutes later, the seven walked down the stairs, got into a waiting car and sped off towards Howrah.
Investigations revealed that the company had withdrawn Rs 7 lakh from a UCO Bank branch in the same building on Thursday afternoon.