In a joint effort by city cops and Kerala police, Devinder Singh, alias Bunty Chor, alias Bunty Krupal Singh — the man who inspired the crime caper Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! — was arrested early Saturday morning. A team from Samarth police station had been sent to apprehend him.
Involved in over 500 burglaries in various parts of the country, Singh had checked into a lodge here. Alertness exhibited by the receptionist landed him in the police net.
Hide and seek
Singh had been at large after he broke into the house of a UAE-based businessman K Venugopalan Nair near Pattom in Thiruvananthapuram on January 21. He allegedly deactivated the surveillance devices before getting away with a sports utility vehicle (SUV) worth Rs 28 lakh, a laptop, and two mobile phones. Following this Kerala police had launched a manhunt for him.
There were unconfirmed reports that Singh had been spotted speeding near the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border, but he apparently managed to evade the local police. Speaking to mediapersons, Additional Commissioner of Police (South) Chandrashekhar Daithankar said, “Bunty first went to Belgaum and then Kolhapur. From there he came here in a luxury bus. He checked in at Sai Executive Lodge in Mangalwar Peth around 2.45 am on Saturday. His behaviour aroused suspicions of the hotel staff, as they had read about him in newspapers. They alerted us following which a team from Samarth police station arrested him. We have recovered the stolen laptop and a mobile phone.”
It was based on the tip-off from officials of Kerala police and the Sai Executive Lodge receptionist that assistant inspector Pushpalata Mandale of the Samarth police station and her team arrested Singh. Mandale said, “After receiving information we reached the hotel shortly and arrested Bunty. We got a call from the lodge around 3.30 am after he had checked in. We found him in his room.”
Commenting on Singh’s arrest, lodge receptionist Balgovind Tripathi said, “I was receiving guests at 2 am when Bunty entered the hotel an asked for a room. He filled the form in a hurry and didn't take the change or the payment receipt. This made me suspicious, as most customers bargain hard to get a discount.
Most importantly, he cold-shouldered me when I tried exchanging pleasantries with him, and rushed to his room. It suddenly struck me that I had seen his picture a couple of days ago in a newspaper, which said he was wanted for a burglary in Kerala. I rechecked his documents to confirm his identity. I then approached the receptionist of a nearby lodge, who knows Malayalam, and asked him to find out about Bunty from Malayalam newspapers. Once it was confirmed that he was the same person, I immediately told the my employer about him.”
While the receptionist from the adjacent lodge called up Kerala police, Tripathi informed Samarth police station about Singh. Based on the phone call they received, officials of Kerala police called up Pune commissioner’s office and requested for Singh's arrest.
“A person called up the commissioner’s office in Kerala. Later, officials here contacted Pune commissioner’s office, asking for Bunty's arrest,” said Prathapan Nair, circle inspector from Perukada in Kerala. Nair was in Pune to take Singh into custody and move him to Kerala.
The 2008 film ‘Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!’, starring Abhay Deol, Neetu Chandra, Paresh Rawal, Manu Rishi, Richa Chadda, Manjot Singh and Archana Puran Singh was inspired by the real life shenanigans of Devinder Singh. It was directed by Dibakar Banerjee. The film won the National Award for Best Popular Film. After serving a prison sentence, Bunty was a contestant in Bigg Boss Season 4 aired on TV channel Colors in 2010.