Sr cop sets off chain reaction after wife almost got robbed

Oct 05, 2011, 08:24 IST | Vinay Dalvi

After a failed attempt at snatching the gold chain of addl commissioner's wife, police force in central region has been tasked with finding the unknown accused

After a failed attempt at snatching the gold chain of addl commissioner's wife, police force in central region has been tasked with finding the unknown accused 
One would think that rallying a force of thousands of policemen to launch a manhunt would involve a criminal of extraordinary culpability. However, a failed chain snatcher apparently fits the bill when the victim of his attempted crime is the spouse of a high-ranking man in a khaki uniform.

A team of around 5,000 officials has been put on the trail of an unknown alleged chain snatcher, who tried to grab the gold chain from the wife of a senior IPS officer.

Botched attempt
Around 4 pm on Monday evening, Sumana (39), wife of Additional Commissioner of Police Qaiser Khalid, flagged a cab near Sujata restaurant at Shivaji Park in Dadar. Soon after she settled in the cab, an unknown person ambled towards her and tried to snatch the gold chain she was wearing around her neck.

"As madam (Sumana) realised that the passer-by was trying to snatch her chain, she screamed for help. The chain snatcher realised that he would get caught. So he loosened his grip around the chain and fled," said an officer from Shivaji Park police station.

A harrowed Sumana informed her husband about the incident and promptly visited the Shivaji Park police station. Cops registered her complaint, and have now launched a massive manhunt for the accused. Since yesterday, all 20 police stations in the city's central region have been galvanised into action with the single agenda of looking for the unknown accused.

Incidentally, Khalid, who was earlier serving as a deputy commissioner of police (port zone), has been promoted to additional commissioner of police (east region). At present, he is in-charge of 16 police stations, including those at Chembur, Mulund, Ghatkopar, Vikhroli and Trombay.   

The after-effect
The alacrity shown by the force was notable. Within 24 hours of the incident, Vineet Agarwal, additional commissioner of police (central region) under whose jurisdiction the attempted snatching took place, conducted at least three meetings briefing officials.

The first happened within two hours of the incident, when Agarwal assembled all the detection officers in his region at his office in Bawla compound at Chinchpokli, and ordered them to compile a list of all previous chain snatchers in police records.

"In Monday's meeting, we had been asked to submit the records of all chain snatchers with details on their present whereabouts. We also took the help of former police officers who have served at the Shivaji Park police station," an officer from Shivaji Park police station said, requesting anonymity.

The next morning at 11 am, in a demonstration of concern over the rising incidents of chain snatching, Agarwal himself paid a visit to Dadar police station where he pulled up all senior officers in his region. He lectured them on precautions that need to be taken to handle the crime. The same evening around 4 pm, the officers were summoned to his office, once again, with the data they had collected.

Blame the gold
In the cut and thrust that followed, officers drew parallels between the earnings of a chain snatcher and a middle class family.

"The increasing chain snatching instances are mostly due to the rise in the price of gold. With one hit, the thief earns at least Rs 50,000, the equivalent of the average income of any upper middle class family. We have learnt that a horde of pickpockets and petty robbers have turned to chain snatching, as gold has become their favourite metal. In most cases, it is difficult to nail chain snatchers as they have no past record," the anonymous officer said.

On an average, Shivaji Park police station receives over 60 complaints of chain snatching in a year, of which 30 per cent cases are usually detected.

Confirming the incident, Agarwal said, "She (Sumana) has approached the Shivaji Park police station with the complaint and we are looking into the matter."

However, Addl Commissioner Qaiser Khalid said, "I do not want to comment on the issue."

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