College student foils chain-snatching bid

Oct 09, 2013, 00:38 IST | Sagar Rajput

Teenager chased and caught one of the chain snatchers after they targeted a 70-year-old woman in Marine Lines

With the city’s residents earning a reputation for looking the other way, a 19-year-old college student has gone against the tide. Chandanwadi resident Abhishek Tiwari chased and caught a chain snatcher who targeted a 70-year-old woman in south Mumbai on Friday.

Brave act: Teenager Abhishek Tiwari (above) chased and caught Firoz Mohammad Shaikh (below, left) after he snatched a gold chain from a senior citizen’s neck in Marine Lines on Friday; Shaikh told cops that his employer Afaq Israr Khan (below, right) had asked him to carry out the robbery to pay off the loans he had taken to start a garment business. Pic/Bipin Kokate

The incident took place near Our Lady Of Dolours Church in Marine Lines when senior citizen Piedade Martin Travaso was making her way home at 8 pm. Police said that acting on instructions of his employer, accused Firoz Mohammad Shaikh (25), snatched Travaso’s gold chain and fled, while his boss Afaq Israr Khan (36) kept a watch. Shaikh then handed over the chain to Khan, and they both fled, heading in the direction of Metro Cinema.

Alerted by Travaso’s screams, Tiwari, who was meeting up with his friends, witnessed the two accused fleeing and started following them. Just then, an unknown biker who also witnessed the sequence of events stopped and offered to help Tiwari chase down the chain snatchers. He got on to the backseat and after a five-minute ride, they caught up with the accused.

Tiwari got down from his seat and, in a scene befitting a Bollywood movie, he leapt and caught hold of Shaikh, pinning him to the ground till the police arrived. 

“The lady had raised an alarm after her chain was snatched, after which a man stopped his bike and asked me to ride pillion. We then followed the chain snatchers, and caught up with them. I then held the accused after which some bystanders and a policeman arrived at the spot.”

Anil Surve, assistant police inspector, Azad Maidan police station, said, “Police Sub-inspector Sunil Bhat had reached the spot first as he was patrolling the area. He was also chasing the chain snatchers after hearing the victim’s shrieks. When he reached the spot, he saw an individual had already nabbed one of the accused.”

Shaikh was brought to Azad Maidan police station and interrogated. He spilled the beans on the whereabouts of Khan, and a police team was formed to trace and nab him.

“DCP Ravindra Shisve and Senior Police Inspector Narendra Chandrapal Singh then formed a team to nab the absconding accused. After Shaikh disclosed Khan’s address, the team was dispatched and Khan was arrested the following day from his residence in Nagpada,” added API Surve.

The duo has been arrested on charges of robbery and has been remanded in police custody till Thursday by the Metropolitan Magistrate court. Cops have recovered the gold chain worth Rs 50,000 from their possession.

Police said that during
interrogation, Khan told them that he had recently started a business of selling jeans in Nagpada and had employed Shaikh for the same. But the business did not pick up and paying back the loan he had taken was proving difficult, as they started incurring losses.

“Under pressure of repaying the loan amount, Khan instructed Shaikh to snatch a chain from a lady. Shaikh was confused, but he obeyed his employer’s order and snatched the chain and fled,” said the police officer.

Rs 50,000
Approximate value of the gold snatched from the victim’s neck, as she made her way home on Friday evening

Harsher punishment
Rattled by the spurt in chain-snatching cases in the city, police have decided to take a tough stand against the miscreants. Cops have been instructed not to book miscreants for theft but for robbery. Chain-snatchers are nowadays booked under Section 392 of the IPC relating to robbery instead of Section 379 relating to theft. Under this section, it is not only difficult to get bail, but even the prison term may be up to 10 years. 

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