A 22-year-old thief caught red-handed trying to steal a bag at an exhibition at NESCO grounds in Goregaon (East) on Saturday evening faced the fury of a mob that thrashed him before handing him over to Vanrai police station. He died later that night. This was the second theft to have taken place at the exhibition grounds in the space of a single week.
On October 20, a gang of thieves targeted the same exhibition centre, stealing valuables worth Rs 90,000 from visitors. Three robbers were nabbed, while the fourth accused fled with the loot (‘Gang of thieves strike expo, loot items worth Rs 90,000,’ October 25).
According to police sources, the deceased thief, Manoj Salvi, hails from Pune and entered the NESCO ground along with his accomplice Prakash Chavan (20) to commit the theft.
Their plans were foiled when a passerby caught them trying to rob a bag that contained a laptop. An angry mob then fell upon the thief before the security guard could hand him over to the Vanrai police. The thieves were put in lock-up.
Late at night, Salvi complained of excruciating stomach pain, and was sent to Bhagwati Hospital. However, he was declared dead in transit while still in police custody.
The Crime Branch is investigating the case and will submit its report within a few days. “One of the head constables who was on duty on Saturday night, may have beaten him, causing his death. The police registered an FIR after the death,” said a source from the Crime Branch.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone XII), Pravin Patil, said, “Late at night, the accused Salvi complained of a stomach ache due to which our officers were taking him to Bhagwati Hospital, but he was declared dead on arrival. No one had beaten him and if anything is found in the inquiry, action will be taken. Salvi’s body has been sent for a post-mortem and the Crime Branch is further investigating the case.”