The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Luck runs out for seer
- Fortune-teller held for theft of temple deities

Foretelling fortunes may be a profitable trade, but it can also send someone behind bars. And Putul Das of Belghoria can vouch for that. Putul stole two idols from a local temple after being refused by the trustee board to continue with her business of predicting fortunes “under a spell”.

Putul and her parents were arrested recently and the idols recovered from them. The idols of Olaichandi were stolen from the temple at Belghoria’s Tantipara a week ago. The Das family, however, had left the golden crowns of the deities behind.

“The needle of suspicion pointed to Putul because the theft occurred a day before the trustee board ordered her to discontinue her practice and vacate the temple premises,” said Krishna Chandra Mondal, officer-in-charge of Belghoria police station. He added that Putul had also quarrelled with the sceptic trustees over her “talent” of predicting a person’s luck under the “influence” of some deity or the other.

She was locally accorded the sobriquet of “aloukik mata” (supernatural mother), Mondal said. As Putul was the family’s sole bread-winner, she and her parents were desperate to return to the temple and resume operations.

Since Putul was popular in the area, the police initially were reluctant to interrogate her.

Then they struck upon a novel idea to retrieve the idols. Claiming that their search had proved futile, the cops asked Putul to help. Seizing the opportunity to display her “skill”, Putul “predicted” where the idols were hidden.

Once the idols were recovered, Putul was in the cop net with her parents. They confessed to stealing the idols. Police said Putul had quit studies after failing in her Higher Secondary examinations last year.

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