The Maharashtra Police are quick when it comes to catching crooks, but seldom do they succeed in recovering the stolen money, jewellery or goodies from the robbers.
A police official at the site of a protest after a spate of robberies at Thane. File Photo
A National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), survey of the state’s police force has revealed a shocking fact: the state’s cops manage to recover a mere 7.4 per cent of the property reported stolen, even though they manage to catch the culprits. No one quite knows what happens to the stash once the cops catch the baddies.
The statistics available with the NCRB says a humongous Rs 4,31,590 lakh worth of cash and valuables were reported stolen across the state in 2013. Yet, all that the police force has to show for its work, is recovered valuables worth Rs 31,959 lakh. This amounts to just 7.4 per cent of the total property stolen. The survey states, that when asked, most policemen pleaded helplessness, saying arrested thugs do not easily hand over stolen valuables, since they claim to be innocent.
A crime branch officer requesting anonymity said, “These days we are scared to even touch arrested robbers, because whenever they are produced in court, the judge first asks the accused whether he was tortured by investigating officers. Many times, the culprits inflict injuries on themselves and complain that they have been assaulted by us.”
Speaking to sunday mid-day another crime branch officer said another trick the arrested crooks use is to mislead cops about the location of the stolen valuables. “They either lead us on a wild goose chase or claim they were robbed in turn by someone else. We even get robbers who claim they have forgotten where they hid the loot. All this makes recovery tough,” he insisted.
According to police officials, recovery of hard cash is next to impossible as robbers usually spend the cash quickly, mostly by visiting bars or on their lovers. “Jewellery can still be recovered as it takes them time to sell but getting back cash is almost impossible,” an officer said.
It’s no surprise then that according to NCRB data, of the 29 states in the country, Maharashtra ranks a poor 25th when it comes to recovery of stolen property. It only ranks above Meghalaya, Manipur, Kerala and Goa. When asked about this not-too-envious track record, Mumbai police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil said, “Mostly it is drug addicts who steal. Even selling gold these days is not tough. Sometimes we bring the jeweller in for investigations and if they confess, then items are recovered easily.”