Mumbai: Anti chain-snatching unit cracks major robbery; yet to solve own cases

While the squad solved a four-year-old robbery case, it is yet to detect any chain-snatchings in the city, which was the specific purpose it was set up for by Mumbai Police in July 2014

Over seven months after it was set up, Mumbai Police’s anti chain-snatching unit (ACSU) has finally cracked its first case - the sensational 2011 robbery of Rs 55 lakh at Vashi, Navi Mumbai. While this is quite a feat in itself, the case is not in the unit’s jurisdiction (ACSU’s purpose is to solve crimes in Mumbai, specifically chain-snatchings).

A poster warns citizens about chain-snatchers. The ACSU was set up to tackle chain-snatching in Mumbai after the rise in such cases over the years. Representational pic
A poster warns citizens about chain-snatchers. The ACSU was set up to tackle chain-snatching in Mumbai after the rise in such cases over the years. Representational pic

So, as it stands, the squad is yet to detect a single case assigned to it so far. Earlier this year, this paper had reported that even five months after its instatement, the ACSU was struggling without basic equipment such as vehicles, or even a telephone (‘No vehicles, computers, telephones for anti chain-snatching squad’, mid-day, January 14).

It’s no surprise then, that all the team had managed was to collect FIRs for chain-snatching incidents from various police stations across the city. With the arrest of five people involved in the 2011 robbery, however, the squad seems to have broken the dry spell and earned itself some long-awaited credit.

“The gang has finally been arrested after they spent four years on the run. All the arrested accused are now in the custody of the Vashi police, under whose jurisdiction the crime lies. Further investigations will be done by them,” said DCP Mohan Dahikar.

The robbery
On March 3, 2011, one of the accused, Girish Nair, posed as a courier person and entered the house of Rajaram Jagdishwala, the owner of Blue Chip Insurance and Investment in the afternoon. At the time, only his wife, daughter and bed-ridden mother were present at home.

His accomplices grabbed mobile phones from the family and cut the wires to the landlines, leaving them without any means to communication. Nair then threatened them with choppers, saying they would be killed if anyone stepped out of the house in the next 15 minutes.

In that period, the gang made off with gold and diamond jewellery weighing 2 kg and Rs 5 lakh cash. A taxi driver, Manohar Mudaliar was keeping watch outside. According to sources, the driver would regularly ferry the owner, Jagdishwala, to Fort and the two would talk during these cab rides, which is how Mudaliar hatched the robbery plan.

Almost exactly four years to the day, on Saturday, the ACSU arrested five accused in the case, including Nair, Mudaliar and one Ibrahim Sheikh alias Ibbu, as well as two other accomplices.

Senior Police Inspector Pramod Kokate, who heads the squad, said, “I got a tip off about the accused. We figured out the gang’s role in the sensational robbery of 2011. After finding proper leads and details about the accused, we arrested them within two hours.”

Unit is ready
What of the unit’s own chain-snatching cases though? The squad has been operational since September 2014, and cases continue to pile up. According to DCP Dahikar, the squad is now well equipped and is working on the pending cases. “The unit has all the equipment that it needs. About the chain-snatchings, the team is investigating and will solve them in time,” he said.

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