Friday’s judgment in the theft case in 1999 at TC Auddy & Sons, well-known jewellers, has spurred the police to tighten the security ring around other jewellery shops in the city.
On Friday, four men were sentenced to life imprisonment, while their fifth accomplice got 10 years for committing a dacoity at the jewellery shop in 1999. Thereafter, the city police decided to throw a tight security ring around all jewellery shops.
Taking a cue from the verdict by 10th judge Rabin Mukherjee of the city civil and sessions court that exemplary punishment was meted out with the intention of checking dacoities in the city, the anti-dacoity and the anti-rowdy squads of the city police have been activated to initiate a drive against snatchers and dacoits and also train jewellers in the art of resistance.
“We regularly hear stories of how jewellers hand over keys to criminals or how they fail to put up any resistance at all. Keeping all this in mind, we have decided to counsel shop-owners to, at least, try and put up some kind of resistance until the police arrive,” said a senior officer of the anti-rowdy section.
On September 1, 1999, at about 1.30 pm, four armed dacoits had entered the showroom of TC Auddy & Sons, on Bidhan Sarani, and straightaway asked for the cashbox. The showroom employees were threatened with dire consequences if they dared to raise an alarm. They were told to empty the box containing gold dust. The men fled with more than Rs 3.26 lakh in cash and 10 kg gold from the box and showcase.
Before the shop-owners could do anything, the dacoits hurled bombs to scare them and fled. However, their luck ran out and they were caught after some time and finally convicted.
Valuables worth Rs 5 lakh were stolen from a New Market shop in a similar manner on July 15. The criminals hurled bombs, intimidated the shop employees and fled.
In a bid to thwart such dacoities, police have decided to depute plainclothesmen in the gem-trade hub, covering Bidhan Sarani, College Street and B.B. Ganguly Street, among other places. “We are trying to explain to shop-owners the importance of trying to recognise the criminals later at test identification (TI) parades. Often, we find that the shop-owners fail to recognise the criminals because they were too scared to even look at their faces when they struck. We hope our counselling sessions will help them overcome this fear,” said a senior police officer.
Among other things, the police will train shop-owners, especially jewellers, in “delaying tactics” or engaging the dacoits in conversation, so that the police get some time to arrive.
Jail visit: A five-member team from the West Bengal Women’s Commission paid a surprise visit to Howrah district jail on Sunday to oversee the condition of 20 women convicts lodged there.