The Telegraph
Friday , June 22 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Of missing husband & dacoity at home

Suspense, drama, action, heartbreak, tragedy…. A recent night at a BH Block home had all the makings of a potboiler, starring Kabita Das and her husband Dilip, who were caretakers of the house.

The Das duo had moved into the garage of this two-storeyed house about seven months ago with their new-born baby. While Kabita worked as a domestic help, Dilip was a plumber.

On the night of April 26, Kabita put her baby to bed and dozed off waiting for her husband to return. When she woke up, it was at knifepoint. Two men, their faces covered by handkerchiefs, had barged into her room. Before she could raise an alarm the men grabbed the baby and threatened to harm him if she didn’t hand over the almirah keys.

The frightened Kabita did as she was told and the men ransacked the room. They took more than Rs 5,000 cash, a gold ring, a pair of gold earrings and even their bank cheque book and pass book. The couple had celebrated their baby’s annaprasan a month back in their village and got silver chains, bracelets and anklets as gifts. The burglars spared nothing. They even took Kabita’s mobile phone, ATM card and the card’s pin number that was written down.

But while in the act, the handkerchieves slipped off both men’s faces and Kabita got a good look at them. On their way out the crooks warned her not to shout, saying that the two men at the gate would be staying put and keeping a watch on her.

Kabita waited till the crack of dawn and then ran to ring the landlord’s doorbell. Both of them senior citizens, the couple came out, saw what happened and called the police. “My wife and I were quite shocked with the robbery as we pay the block committee for four night guards to patrol our lanes. Later we learnt that all the four were absent that night!” says Debabrata Ghosh.

But the police left no room for complaint. “Three vans reached our house in 15 minutes,” says the highly impressed landlord.

The cops of the east police station inventoried everything that was stolen. But the most conspicuous missing object was Kabita’s husband! Dilip had not returned all night. There was no word from him and he could not be contacted. The cops had a theory that it might have been Dilip who staged the robbery and had now fled with the valuables.

Before they could send out a search team, word came from north thana. Dilip had been arrested the previous night, for “outraging the modesty of a woman”, according to officer Rupam Kumar Hazra. It turned out Dilip was having an affair with this woman and after a tiff she lodged a complaint about him.

Kabita burst into fresh tears at this news. “The poor girl said she didn’t mind her life’s savings getting stolen as much as having her husband stolen by another woman,” says Manjusri Ghosh.

When Dilip was released by north thana, he was unabashed about the situation. “He openly announced that he had been seeing the other woman for six to seven months,” says Manjusri. “But that he had nothing to do with the dacoity.”

The evidence corroborated his claim. But by then Kabita was hopping mad. She called home in Midnapore and the elders there decided that the couple had seen enough city lights for a lifetime. “They were summoned back to their village. They left for good,” says the landlady.

The cops thereafter worked diligently and nabbed the thugs. The empty jewellery boxes were retrieved from the First Avenue in BH Block and the crooks were tracked down to a hideout in Habra. Kabita came back to identify the criminals — Shanti Sarkar and Kanai Bala — and claimed her belongings. Last heard, her husband was toeing the line too.

Police say the duo were behind two other robberies at BH and AJ blocks and recovered laptops and mobile phones. They are in Dum Dum Central Jail now, waiting for their trial to start.

While upset at losing their reliable domestic help, the Ghoshs are most impressed with the swift action taken by the police. “It’s almost a ritual to abuse the police but the officers were so polite and friendly with us. They recovered everything too,” says Manjusri.