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TMCNet:  Techie couple held for card theft [Kolkata] [Times of India]

[November 27, 2012]

Techie couple held for card theft [Kolkata] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KOLKATA: They are suave, highly educated, and well-placed in the IT sector. Hardly the suspects police expected to find at the end of a trail of theft and misuse of debit card. Raja Dutta, a software engineer who owns a company, and his alleged partner-in-crime Bandana Kumari, a well-placed employee with an ITES major, are now cooling their heels in lock-up.


Investigators say the duo had planned the crime so well that it would have been difficult to track them but for the bank's instant messaging service and the victim's quick response. Police have recovered a camera, three cellphones and memory cards that Raja and Bandana had allegedly bought with the stolen card. A laptop, belonging to the victim, IT employee Saibal Banerjee, has also been seized. Police say Raja and Bandana had even used someone else's car to carry out the crime.

On Friday, Saibal, an employee of Techno India, went to the Salt Lake Sector V campus where recruitment was on. He kept his bag that had his wallet, a laptop and other belongings, in a room around 10.00am and went about his work. About four hours later, his cellphone pinged with a message from the bank that Rs 23,040 had been debited from his account. He was surprised as he had not bought anything to run up such a bill.

He rushed to the spot where he had kept his bag and found it was gone. He immediately called the bank and learnt that the transaction had taken place at Axis Mall, New Town, about 6km from the campus. He called the mall and got in touch with the shop-owner. The couple was just leaving the counter when his call came through. Saibal asked the owner to hold the couple back and dialed the Electronic Complex police station.

Police responded within minutes and accompanied Saibal to the mall. But they found that the couple had left the shop in unusual haste before the shop-owner could ask for authentication of the card. In fact, they had left the card behind in their hurry. Police examined the CCTV footage and zeroed in on the couple leaving in a red Santro car. "We could take down its registration number," said an officer.

From motor vehicles records, police found that the car belonged to Ruma Ghosh of Baguiati. Ruma, taken aback when police landed at her doorstep, said she had left the car at a repairing garage in Hatiara on October 20. Investigators went to the garage and interrogated the owner, Md Imamuddin, who confessed that he had loaned the car to two of his old customers Raja Dutta and Bandana Kumari. The duo had come in a Maruti Esteem a little after 11am for some "urgent repairs" and asked for a substitute car. Imamuddin gave them the Santro that he had repaired a few days ago. He had no clue that the car would be used in a crime.

With Imamuddin's help, Bidhannagar police arrested the couple from near Bowlers' Den, Salt Lake. Faced with overwhelming evidence, it didn't take long for the couple to confess.

While interrogating Raja, police were surprised by his impressive CV. He has worked with nearly every tech major in the country and his last job was as a senior manager with a leading software firm. He had recently started his own business but it wasn't doing well, he apparently told police. Raja is married and has a child but was living-in with Bandana for about a year, say police. Bandana, a smart and attractive ITES employee at New Town, hails from Sundargarh in Odisha. The two met during a business seminar and quickly developed an intimacy, say police. But it was becoming increasingly difficult for Raja to maintain two establishments, said an officer of Bidhannagar police commissionerate.

A court has remanded Raja in police custody for three days and Bandana in jail custody till December 4.

(c) 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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