Mumbai crime: Police informer turns chain snatcher to marry girlfriend

The 21-year-old used his knowledge of crime detection techniques to evade arrest; would splurge the money on food, clothes and drugs

Acting on a tip-off, cops nabbed a gang of four chain snatchers — three men and one woman — from a restaurant in Malad on Saturday.

Dhanraj Meghanathan Kounder and his girlfriend Punam Vishnu Gurav
Dhanraj Meghanathan Kounder and his girlfriend Punam Vishnu Gurav

The accused were identified as Dhanraj Meghanathan Kounder alias Bittu (21), his girlfriend Punam Vishnu Gurav (26), Mangesh Kashinath Kareker (23) and Kiran Harish Sharma (24). All four history-sheeters have several cases registered against them at various police stations across Mumbai, including Shivaji Park, Versova and Samta Nagar.

Investigation revealed that besides being a criminal, Kounder also worked as a police informer. Cops said he used his knowledge of the crime detection techniques implemented by the police to solve chain-snatching cases to evade arrest. He also told police that the money they made by selling the booty would be spent on food, clothes and drugs.

All for love
During interrogation, Kounder told police that he has been working as an informer since the age 16. Kounder claimed he recently took to chain snatching so that he could make enough money to marry his long-time girlfriend Punam. Cops said while Kounder would ride the motorcycle, pillion rider Punam would snatch chains. They added that the days on which Punam was unavailable, either Karekar or Sharma — depending on their availability — would ride pillion and snatch chains. The quartet would also steal cellphones.

Cop speak
“All four have multiple cases registered against them across Mumbai. While Kounder and Gurav were handed over to the Malad police, Karekar and Sharma are currently in custody of Samta Nagar police. All four have been booked under sections 34 (common intention) and 392 (robbery). So far, they have confessed to committing five chain snatchings in Malad itself,” said Senior Inspector Chimaji Adhav from Crime Branch (Unit-XI).

Chain recovered
Based on the information provided by Kounder during interrogation, Crime Branch officers recovered a gold chain (10 gm) worth Rs 31,000. The gang had hidden it under a rock along the railway tracks near Malad station. One of the officers said the chain belongs to a senior citizen and was snatched last week.

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