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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

After card theft, conwoman shopped for Rs. 36,000 at mall

Leena Dhankhar, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, January 23, 2013
First Published: 01:04 IST(23/1/2013) | Last Updated: 01:06 IST(23/1/2013)

A 23-year-old woman working with Nestle in Gurgaon was attacked in the washroom of the MG Road Metro station with a chemical spray by another woman who stole her debit card and shopped for almost R36,000 at a nearby mall.

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Mudita Bhan was on her way to Delhi for an office meeting on Monday when she was attacked.

This incident has raised serious questions on the safety of women inside Metro stations, which have high police presence, and PCR response to emergency situations. 

The victim was able to file an FIR after five hours of running around at the Iffco Chowk Metro police station in the evening.

‘A woman inside the washroom sprayed some chemical on my face and I went blind for a few seconds. I kept trying to contact the police. The incident took place around 12:19pm. I tried to call on 100 but the call could not get through. The PCR van arrived at 1:50pm but the policemen fought over jurisdiction area. A case was registered after a lot of confusion at 6:50pm,” said Bhan.

KN Jha, an official of Sulabh International, that has set up the public conveniences across all Metro stations, refused to take responsibility.

He said the victim had left her purse on the washbasin from where unknown persons must have taken away her card. He said, “Our staff members sit outside the toilets and they don’t get to know what is happening inside. We are not responsible for the belongings of users.”

Bhan received the first SMS alert from her bank at 12.33pm, just 14 minutes after the incident. She received a total three shopping alerts in a row. The accused had shopped for goods worth R36,000 from three outlets in Sahara Mall which is just opposite the MG Road metro station.

Bhan rushed to the mall but the accused had escaped by then. The CCTV footage does not show the face of the accused clearly due to poor quality of cameras used by shopkeepers.

The victim was rushed to a hospital by her colleagues where she was given first aid.

“I am disappointed with the procedure a victim has to go through. Even after the Delhi gangrape case, the police have not learnt any lesson. The system at police stations is pathetic and frustrating,” she said.

DCP (east) Maheswar Dayal said, “I have ordered an investigation in the incident and if any policeman is found guilty, he would be suspended.”


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