Accused was caught after a slew of thefts at the students' hostel; he claimed to be an Ayurvedic doctor who had come to visit a friend
It appears any drifter can waltz into the boys' hostel at JJ hospital in Byculla and pinch valuables like cell phones.
In the last few months, the Apna Boys hostel has seen a spate of incidents of students 'losing' their mobiles from their rooms. Until recently, students suspected that it was the handiwork of someone associated with their hostel. But an unlikely suspect emerged last Saturday: an old man, unrelated with the hospital or the hostel.
Lost, not found: After last Saturday's incident, many students at Apna
Boys Hostel at JJ hospital have come forward with complaints of stolen
cell phones. File pic
On November 12, an MBBS undergraduate student, Ashish Kamble, was stunned to find a man in his late 60's in his hostel room, trying to make off with his cell phone. Ashish, along with other students, caught hold of the man and took him to the warden, Dr J Bhawani. Asked what he was doing inside the hostel, the man claimed to be a doctor who had come to meet a friend. Sceptical, the students handed over the accused, who identified himself as Dattatray Pawar, to the JJ Marg police.
"The student (Ashish) told me that the man was trying to steal his mobile phone. I was shocked to see that the accused was so old. After his complaint, another student said that he had seen this man loitering in the hostel," said Bhawani, adding that many students have now come forward with complaints of their phones having been stolen.
Another student claimed he had seen Dattatray trying to flee with his mobile. "I saw the accused with my cell phone and when I sounded the alarm, he tossed it out of the window and fled. Since I got my phone back, I did not complain to the police," said the resident of the hostel, which houses some 180 students.
Cops are trying to establish if Dattatray is behind the other alleged mobile thefts.
Kalyan Fulari, PSI at JJ Marg police station, said, "We have registered the complaint in the police station diary and are inquiring into it."
Dattatray, in his statement to the police, has said that he is an Ayurvedic doctor and had gone to the hostel to meet a friend who works at JJ hospital, but cops say his age belies his claim.
"He has no past record of any crime. He even claims to have contested elections," added Fulari.