The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Feluda robbed in sleep

Calcutta, March 11: Feluda was asleep when burglars broke in early this morning and escaped with Rs 6 lakh in cash and valuables.

Actor Soumitra Chatterjee, who made Satyajit Ray's detective popular on screen, was robbed of Rs 5 lakh in cash and about Rs 1 lakh in gold jewellery at his house in Phase VI of Golf Green.

Chatterjee, wife Deepa and son Saugata were asleep on the first floor at the time and had no clue till the actor was stepping out for a morning walk around 6.30. He found a cupboard on the ground floor ransacked and informed Jadavpur police station.

Fingerprint experts and sniffer dogs were rushed but no clue was found.

'We couldn't hear anything,' Deepa said.

Chatterjee, who left for a shooting hours after the discovery, said on his return in the afternoon: 'I have nothing to say other than that there has been a theft in my house.'

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said he had spoken to the actor. 'The culprits will be nabbed soon.' The Criminal Investigation Department has been handed the case.

In the evening, Noor Baksh, a 19-year-old former domestic help at the Chatterjee home, was picked up from Bhangor in South 24-Parganas as was Ismail, 'an associate'.

An 'insider's' hand was suspected in the second such incident in Phase VI of late. A few months ago, a gang had broken into the flat of the Chatterjees' next-door neighbour and escaped with valuables worth Rs 1.5 lakh.

'It appears to be an insider's job though we are not jumping to any conclusion. The gang seems to know the layout of the house and found their way around easily,' said Harmanpreet Singh, deputy inspector-general of police, Presidency Range.

The police said the robbers entered through the house's service door, on the eastern flank overlooking a small garden and a garage in front.

The lock, they said, was flimsy. The thieves first entered the bedroom, where they broke open a steel almirah and lifted a jhola containing the cash. They then rummaged through a wooden almirah and picked up the ornaments, Singh said.

Chayan Mukherjee, inspector-general of police (law and order), however, said the almirahs had been opened with keys, which are now missing.

Noor, who police said had committed crimes in the past, was discharged barely a fortnight ago by the Chatterjees. His former employer, Debajyoti, a local trader, was said to have sacked him when he was caught stealing Rs 4,000.

'When the Chatterjees employed him, they had been warned by Debajyoti,' claimed H.K. Kusumakar, additional superintendent (industrial), South 24-Parganas.

Their driver, Rajinder Mahato, too, was shown the door recently.

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