The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Couple covets neighbour cash
- Duplicate key used to raid next-door flat

The Ghosh Dastidars of Park Circus have given “neighbours’ envy” a whole new dimension.

Sujay and Sumana Ghosh Dastidar were arrested on Sunday for regularly breaking into the home of a neighbour with a duplicate key, and walking off with all things valuable – from blank cheques to gold chains – they could lay their hands on.

The couple later confessed that it was not the only neighbour’s home it had burgled. They had robbed another neighbour of 320 gm of gold ornaments a couple of years ago.

Sujay and Sumana lived in a housing complex on Gorachand Road, in the Park Circus area. Sujay, 30, was going through a rough patch and was hunting for a job. Sumana, however, was employed with a nationalised bank near their residence.

George and Saramma Abraham were their next-door neighbours. Things would go missing from their place with alarming regularity. Between May 21 and the third week of August, they “lost” as many as 12 UBI cheques, a gold chain and Rs 7,000 in cash. They initially put it down to their own carelessness.

But finally, on August 27, they approached the detective department of Calcutta Police for help. Sleuths came and found several scratches near the keyhole on the main door. “It appeared to have been repeatedly unlocked with the help of a duplicate key,” said a detective department official on Monday. “We then laid a trap and asked the couple to play along.”

According to plan, George and Saramma went about spreading the word among their neighbours that they had sold their car and were yet to deposit the money in the bank. And on Saturday, they informed the entire complex that they would be leaving Calcutta for a few days, from Sunday.

The Abrahams left their flat on Sunday morning, but not before quietly letting in two sleuths. Around 3 pm, the cops lying in wait heard someone trying to open the door. A person then entered the flat, and made his way straight to a safe in the living room.

Caught in the act, Sujay blurted out his identity. Both husband and wife were arrested and they admitted to their crime. The blank cheques were prime targets for the couple as Sumana, being in the same branch where the Abrahams had their account, managed to forge their signatures. The Ghosh Dastidars had cleaned out Rs 56,000 from the Abrahams’ account through forged cheques.

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