Mumbai crime: Thieves pinch pockets as new ministers take oath

The BJP government’s induction ceremonies seem to exert a pull on security violations. After a selfie-crazed fan-man climbed atop the dais while Devendra Fadnavis was taking oath to be chief minister on October 31, yesterday saw two pickpockets hard at work at the Vidhan Bhavan lawn, where 10 Shiv Sena and 10 BJP ministers were sworn in as part of the state cabinet’s expansion.

Ganpati Patil (circled, right) wrangled with one of the accused (circled, left), before he was whisked away by cops. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Ganpati Patil (circled, right) wrangled with one of the accused (circled, left), before he was whisked away by cops. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

While the transgression at the high-profile event swarming with very important people is worrisome, incredible still is the claim of a BJP worker who said one of the pickpockets had swiped Rs 2 lakh from him. The accused was arrested on the spot, but not before an indecorous wrestling match with his victim.

Another worker claimed losing a more plausible amount of R5,000. Said Ganpati Patil from Pune, “When ministers got down from the stage after taking oaths, the two pickpockets, taking advantage of the huge crowd, stole valuables from four people. One was nabbed and the other managed to escape even amid such high-level security. How can anyone sneak into such a sensitive location at such a key event?”

Marine Drive police registered cases against the accused but are clueless how they got in. Security at the venue was allegedly watertight. Unlike the October 31 open-doors swearing-in, entry yesterday was strictly restricted to people with passes, of which there were seven types.

Many cameras kept watch and cops stood guard. In such minutely monitored environs, the intrusion raises serious questions about Mumbai police’s security detail.

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