Police yesterday apprehended Vimala Omprakash Walmiki, an employee of the Public Works Department (PWD), who has been working as a sweeper at the Highway Police headquarters in Fort for the past 13 years. They made the arrest after receiving a tip-off about her possible involvement in the thefts. She was arrested after she confessed to her crime.
An official from the Highway Police had recently lodged a complaint with the MRA Marg police station, stating that the television set, inverter, and two batteries costing a total of around Rs 50,000 had gone missing from their control room at the Old Custom House in S B S Marg, Fort.
Following this, a special team was formed, comprising Senior Police Inspector Ashok Jagdale and Police Sub-Inspector Mahesh Kale from MRA Marg police station. “We interrogated a lot of people working at the headquarters and had even suspected the role of the sweeper, but since she had worked at the premises for 13 years, we were unsure about her involvement,” said Jagdale.
A breakthrough came when two police constables informed them that the woman had been accused of a similar crime during her stint at her earlier job. “Constables Hemkant Bagul and Pawar received a tip-off that some theft cases had been registered against the accused when she worked at Thane Court,” said Kale.
After receiving the information, investigating officers summoned Walmiki for questioning. Though she initially denied her involvement, she later confessed to carrying out the thefts. In her confession, Walmiki told cops that she used to steal the valuables and stuff them in the gunny bags she would use to collect garbage from the premises. She would leave the building manned by police constables round the clock — none of whom thought about checking bags of garbage.
“We arrested Walmiki and will keep her in custody till Thursday. She was offered the job in the Public Works Department (PWD) after her husband died in 2001. She told us that she needed money for her two sons, and so she stole the valuables,” said Kale.