A residential complex that houses retired Air Force and Navy officers, which was allegedly on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s (LeT) hit list in 2009, has now become a sitting duck for burglars. In spite of having police protection, at least five flats have been burgled in the last three months. On Monday, flat no 56 on the fifth floor and flat no 76 located on the seventh floor in the ‘M’ and ‘N’ wings respectively were looted.
The residents have even registered a complaint at the local police station but the cops are yet to make any headway in the matter. The residential complex Jalvayu Vihar, was issued to ex-defence personnel by Air Force Naval Housing Board and has been given 24-hour police protection since 2009 as it was reported to be on the LeT’s radar after the arrest of David Headley in Chicago.
“Soon after the threat, a team of police officials was stationed permanently at the entrance of the building. Over a period of time the security has been relaxed. Now, a group of police officials only patrol the area to ensure our safety,” said Sudhir Shetty, social worker and resident of Jalvayu Vihar.
Residents said that following the terror threat, internal security was beefed up and CCTV cameras were installed. The compound wall of the apartment complex was also raised and additional fences were added on top. Each wing has two security guards, who work in two shifts.
Shetty added, “Two days ago, a flat above my house was burgled. It’s surprising how someone is managing to breach the security of such a guarded building repeatedly.”
According to residents, apart from the recent incidents, three other flats were burgled two months ago.
B C Thackeray, a security guard at Jalvayu Vihar, said, “It has been a year since the police took their van off our building, but they have regular checks and inquire about the well- being of the society. They have been maintaining a register since then.”
The building’s secretary, who did not wish to be named, said, “We have been suspecting everyone from local vendors to the watchman, but we cannot blame anyone as we don’t have evidence. We have filed an FIR at Powai police station and the investigation is in progress. The main motive behind the crimes was to rob gold and cash, as the thieves had opened all the cupboards but only cash and gold were reported missing.”
A senior inspector at Powai police station said, “Investigations have revealed that in both the cases, there were security lapses on part of the security guard posted inside the building. There is also a possibility that someone employed within the complex has been leaking information about the occupants not being at home to the burglars.”