Mrunal Manmay Dash

A notorious criminal gang, which was involved in looting cash from several shops in Bhubaneswar, reportedly performed Puja and offer Rasagola to a deity for a successful strike and repeat the ritual after the heist.

The gang of four from West Bengal who were allegedly responsible for a string of loots from medicine and grocery stores in the Capital City, and some satellite towns, were rounded up by the Commissionerate police on Thursday.

During interrogation following their arrest, the police learnt the modus operandi of the gang members who were faithful to their belief in as much as they were to the trade.

The foursome lived in a room at a lodge near Ashok Nagar area in the Smart City which they used as an operational base, police said. After tasting success in Bhubaneswar they were planning to extend the operational area to Cuttack when the police sniffed their trail and busted them from the hideout.

The interrogators learnt that all four of them had studied up to Class 7. While the prime accused Raju hails from Nadia district in West Bengal, the other three- Deepak Biswas, Sankar De and Sonu- are from North 24 Parganas.

The police subsequently recovered Rs 39000 cash, 4 mobile phones, 2 voter IDs and an Aadhaar card from their possession.

However, what baffled the interrogators was when they lay their hands on a photograph in which the foursome was spotted sitting with folded hands before a chair. A metal plate, flowers and some incense sticks on a stand could be seen placed atop the chair. The intrigued cops then asked the gang members to explain the bizarre ritual.

They reportedly told the police that they would pay their obeisance to a deity by offering Rasagolas while seeking success before venturing out for loots. They would repeat the same ritual following a successful strike. “It seems they took religiosity to another level,” said an official privy to the investigation while requesting anonymity.

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