Accused Milind Jagtap caught by Sena workers while trying to relieve party district chief Babasaheb Dhumal of belongings, handed over to police; suspect unsuccessfully tried same thing on Dhumal at Uddhav Thackeray rally in Bhosari couple of months ago.

In the sea of Shiv Sena workers keenly waiting for a speech by party executive president Uddhav Thackeray to begin, there yesterday was a person who was equally eager for the rally to kick off so that he could start doing what he had come for -- relieve party activists of their wallets while they were engrossed in the speech.

Shiv Sena district chief Babasaheb Dhumal. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Identified as Milind Jagtap (32), the person allegedly dared to try his tricks on none other than Shiv Sena district president Babasaheb Dhumal. This resulted in an outburst of anger among party workers, who thrashed Jagtap before handing him over to the police.

At the rally: Accused Milind Jagtap, who has had several cases filed
against him in the past, is said be a regular face at political rallies

Caught again: Suspect Milind Jagtap in the hands of the police

Thackeray was in the city to address party workers at a private lawn venue near Mhatre Bridge. Jagtap also made his way there, allegedly to pinch wallets, assuming no one would notice him in a huge crowd of people.

Take it easy: Cops
When Shiv Sena workers handed Jagtap over to the police, the law enforcers initially tried to brush the matter aside, saying these things were common at political rallies. The matter was finally taken seriously when some Shiv Sena supporters complained to the police their wallets were missing. After this, the police noted down the names of the complainants and also advised them that they should have beaten Jagtap as the police now hesitate to touch anyone inside the police station. Talking to MiD DAY, Dhumal said Jagtap had targeted him at an earlier rally as well.

"About two months ago, when Thackeray had come to the city to address party workers in Bhosari, my pocket was picked by the same person and that time also we had caught him and handed him over to the police. But I think no action was taken against him as yesterday he again tried to steal my money. Only, this time before he could do it, party workers started beating him," Dhumal said.

A regular at rallies
Party workers who were present at the time of the incident said they had seen Jagtap pinching wallets at many rallies and had even christened him "Political-Rally-Special Pickpocket". A party worker said Jagtap lived near his home in Parvati Darshan.  "He must be doing such activities as part of a larger group where various areas of operation are assigned to the different pickpockets. Jagtap must have been given the responsibility of pinching wallets at political rallies," said the party worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.  

Jagtap was taken to the Kothrud police station. The police said they were collecting information from him.
Sub-Inspector Bhanudas Shinde said many similar cases had been filed against Jagtap. "Jagtap is a labourer and similar cases have been filed against him in Bhosari, Chatuhshringi, Shivaji Nagar and Swargate police stations," Shinde said. "In such cases pickpockets get a minimum of two years and a maximum of five years in prison."
The officer said the police had filed a case against Jagtap even in the earlier, Bhosari rally incident mentioned by Dhumal.

Since Jagtap was a free man till he was caught yesterday, it is possible that he was not convicted in the earlier cases filed against him. Jagtap was detained under Section 41 (2) of the CrPC and preventive action was taken against him.