Rodda Heist: The loot of 1914, the British did not realize quickly

Rajasree Roy

This 26th August is related to historical stories of India. Today is 26th August and today’s date is related to a big robbery. This heist was one of them which British Company didn’t even realize quickly.

You got it right. This is Rodda Company Arms Heist. It took place on 26th August 1914 in Calcutta (now Kolkata), India.

Bengali Revolutionary Organization Anushilan Samiti blocked a shipment of Mauser Pistols and ammunition of Messrs Rodda and co. This company was a Calcutta-based weapon seller. While these were on the way from the Customs house to the organization’s godown, this group looted some of these weapons.

This Heist was sensational at that time also still now. The Statesman described this loot as “Greatest Daylight Robbery“.

After the following year, most of the nationalists used these pistols and weapons. These pistols and ammunitions always showed up to almost all the incidences of nationalist struggles in Bengal. From these link-ups, we can state that at that time all nationalists were united. By 1922, the police had recovered most of the stolen arms.

Background of Heist

Western Anushilan Samiti in the aftermath of the Manicktala Conspiracy ( 1906-1910) found a more prominent leader, Jatindra Nath Mukherjee. He was also with the Jugantar group. Meanwhile, Rash Behari Bose also joined them. Later British Police described him as “the most dangerous revolutionary in India”. Cause they couldn’t arrest him many times. Rash Behari Bose was too much proficient in disguise. This group also extended its reach to North India. Other than that, Shrish Chandra Mitra was an employee of Rodda co. Mitra was also a member of the Anushilan Samiti.

Day of Rodda Heist

Mitra knew about a major consignment of arms and ammunition being shipped to the firm in August 1914. He arranged a bullock cart and gave the information to Haridas Dutt. Dutt drove that cart and rob with others: Shrishh Pal, Khagendra Nath Das.

Mitra received a total of 202 boxes. 192 were loaded between the first six carts, while the remaining 10 boxes were taken to the Dutta’s cart.

All information and plan here took its place. And this heist became successful. From this heist, they got 50 Mauser pistols and 46,000 rounds of ammunition.


The Statesman, in its version on 30 August 1914 depicted the heist as “The best light burglary”. Haridas Dutta was captured in September 1914, and carried out jail punishments for his job in the heist, alongside Kalidas Basu, Bhujanga Dhar, and Girindranath Banerjee. Before very long, these arms were connected to most progressive violations in Calcutta and Bengal until 1917, including Bagha Jatin during his point of no return at the banks of Budhabalanga River. By 1922, the police had recuperated the majority of the taken arms.

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