The thief steals the car's handles. His getaway vehicle is parked nearby

Sunil Adhikari feels like he is waging a losing battle with the police. Since April, his car's accessories have been stolen on four occasions. But the police refused to register an FIR even after he procured CCTV camera footage showing the perpetrators' faces.

The police have only filed a non-cognisable complaint for the offences under section 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of R50) of the IPC and have told him to approach the court to get an order on registration of an FIR.

Does own probe
Adhikari, 38, a resident of a Cuffe Parade slum who runs a Chinese fast food stall, bought a Swift Dzire in April and rented it out to the Navy to earn some extra cash. But soon after, parts of his car began getting stolen. After the fourth theft, he approached the police, who filed a non-cognisable complaint against unidentified offenders.

"I approached the building owner and sought the CCTV camera footage. In the videos, the faces of the offenders are clearly visible. I could identify quite a few of them. I see them every day, but the police haven't arrested them," says Adhikari.
The police have to seek the court's approval to make any arrest on a non-cognisable offence.

Victim Sunil Adhikari
Victim Sunil Adhikari

Cocky thieves
The footage, from June 24, show the thieves driving up in a car, rattling accessories of Adhikari's car, and stealing whatever they could loosen or break apart. Adhikari claims that at least two other residents in the locality have been targets of similar thefts.

Sangram B Sabale, investigating officer from Cuffe Parade police station claims that since the complaint was initially for a non-cognisable offence (damage to vehicles by unknown persons), Adhikari must now approach the court to get an FIR registered. When mid-day points to the availability of CCTV camera footage showing the perpetrators' faces, he says, "With or without the footage, section 427 of the IPC is applied in such cases."

Rashmi Jadhav, senior inspector of Cuffe Parade police station, was not available for comment.