| The three men before they were taken to the hospital by the police. Picture by Surajit Roy
Malda, April 23: Three men were lynched after their attempt to rob a trader of his bag containing Rs 12,000 in Sarbamangala Palli here failed this morning.
All three from a gang of seven were below 30 and from Sujapur, 25 km from Sarbamangala Palli under Englishbazar police station.
Police suspect that the target was probably some hawala brokers, known to be transacting business from Netaji Municipal Market nearby.
“Or else why will they take such a risk for so small an amount (Rs 12,000) at a busy market place and that too in the morning' There is no denying that the municipal market is known for hawala transactions with Bangladesh,” a senior police official said.
Three loaded pipe-guns, a mobile and a motorcycle have been recovered from the spot of the crime near NH 31.
Eyewitnesses said the gang had tried to snatch a bag containing Rs 12,000 from Gupinath Saha, a rice dealer, at gunpoint, when he stepped out of his house in the morning. They were taken aback when Saha, instead of being frightened, raised a hue and cry that drew the attention of the local people, who came to his rescue.
As a crowd of few hundred chased them, the gang opened fire, which attracted more people. Though there were no casualties, the mob caught hold of three of the gang members and started beating them up.
The police arrived a little later and rescued the three bleeding men. They were taken to the district hospital, a kilometre away, where they succumbed to their injuries.
Additional superintendent of police Sujit Sarkar said: “We are exploring every possibility. It is difficult to believe that they had come to rob a person of Rs 12,000 only.”
Sarkar said they have come across two names— Don and Kamal— in the seized mobile phone, whom they are trying to trace.
The police had also received two calls on the cellphone. The person from the other side had inquired if the operation had been successful. The calls came from Sujapur.