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Murder to e-fraud, woman crime graph soars in Kolkata

April 13, 2010

KOLKATA: The hands that rock the cradle also have blood on them. The city police are disturbed by the increasing number of crimes by women from gruesome murders to hi-tech fraud.
Last month, detectives were surprised to find a woman when they raided a fake credit card workshop. Police say Leanna Jordasn used to work with a private firm in south Kolkata and moonlighted as a racketeer with a Nigerian gang. She is married to one of the ringleaders. Some weeks earlier, a south Kolkata call centre employee was arrested for stealing the credit card details of 50 overseas clients.
These were what police call white collar crime. But there are others fingers in blood crimes that women are increasingly involved in.
For instance, in December 2008, Nandita Saha, a housewife from Beliaghata, helped her husband Satya strangle his sister-in-law Bula and stuff the body into a sack. Then, she turned to help him murder Bula’s one-year-old child. It was a crime that shook even hardened officers.
"We have handled several dreaded killers. But Nandita was something different. The mother of a child, she not only participated in the brutal killings but stayed calm during interrogation and even tried to mislead police," said an investigator.
Women have been involved in at least 10 gruesome murders in the past three years in Kolkata, say police. Some of these were planned in cold blood.
The matronly looking 45-year-old Manju Das patiently gained the trust of 71-year-old widow Uma Banerjee and her sister Susama Niogy and then drugged and robbed both of them, knowing that they could die. One of the sisters died. The other barely survived. Manju had introduced the elderly Manoharpukur residents as a relative of a trusted maid of Uma’s. Within a fortnight, she again targeted another elderly woman, Puspa. Luckily, the victim survived and Manju was arrested. She calmly confessed everything to police.
Another domestic, Kalpana Sil, ganged up with notorious gangsters to rob her elderly employer, Indira Rani, in Cornfield Road. She watched as the gang hacked Kalpana. When the victim lay in a pool of blood, Kalpana coolly went about looting valuables, say police. A few days later, police nabbed Shipra Karmakar, who used to pose as a salesgirl to rob elderly people.
"Women are experts in crimes like shoplifting and pickpocketing. What we are worried about now is their involvement in violent crimes," said a police detective. In 2009, women had taken an active role in five murders. Each killing was gruesome. "No doubt we have some cases where women have taken an active role and there are more of them now than earlier. But it is still difficult to call it a trend," said DC DD Damayanti Sen.
But officers at the ground level admit they are getting more women criminals than before. Many have killed their own children out of anger.
On the afternoon of August 12, 2008, 35-year-old Anita Singh from Howrah threw her four-year-old daughter Visakha off Howrah bridge into the Hooghly river. She was trying to throw her youngest, an infant, when passersby grabbed her. "She was tortured by her in-laws for a long time and took out her anger on her own children," said an investigator.
A similar situation drove 36-year-old homemaker Anjana Maity to kill her 14-year-old son Somnath. With a bonti she hacked him to death in his sleep. "She was estranged from her husband and the frustration turned her violent," said a police officer.

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