The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Brain behind ammo theft held

Malda, Sept. 23: Abdul Barek, the main accused in the looting of rifle ammunition from a police camp in July, was arrested from his village yesterday.

The stolen cartridges, however, remain untraceable.

Barek was picked up from Lakshmighat village, about 26km from here, where the camp is also located. Today he was remanded in police custody for seven days.

A gang had stolen 50 live .303 rifle cartridges from the camp in the Englishbazar police station area on July 8. The police had rounded up 13 people earlier, but Barek had given them the slip.

“Barek certainly knows where the cartridges are, otherwise he would not have fled the area,” Malda police chief Dilip Mondal said today. The arrested person had not yet come clean about the whereabouts of the ammunition, he added.

“No thief confesses to his crime but we are sure that he is the main culprit. We will question him further,” Mondal said.

Of the seven constables posted at the camp, five were out patrolling when the gang attacked. The criminals severed the power lines and overpowered the two constables before making off with a steel box containing the cartridges.

The additional police superintendent, Sujit Sarkar, who visited the spot after the incident, described the theft as a “carefully planned” one.

The camp was set up in a primary school in the village on June 19 after a spate of looting and dacoities in Lakshmighat and neighbouring villages when mango orchard owners were flush with cash.

Following the earlier arrests, the Malda district Congress had protested against the rampant detention of villagers by the police. The party leaders had also submitted a memorandum to Mondal.

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