One of Delhi’s oldest watch showrooms, Gangoly Brothers, located in Connaught Place was burgled on Friday night. The incident happened despite heavy deployment of police in Lutyens’ Delhi for Republic Day and the Beating Retreat. The burglars have not been identified yet.
Over 600 high-end watches of popular international brands such as Rolex, Rado Seiko, Guess, Omega, Victorinox, Longines, Fossil, with price ranging between Rs5,000 and Rs7 lakh, were stolen from the shop. The stolen watches included costly timepieces that belonged to the showroom owner and his son. Some were antique watches that the customers had left at the shop for repairs. The total loss was estimated over Rs1.35 crore
Located close to Regal Building at the outer circle, Gangoly Brothers has been selling watches even before India became independent.
Even three days after the crime, the Delhi Police remained clueless about the identities of the burglars. Senior police officials suspect that the burglary was the handiwork of a professional gang and watch experts, as the thieves made away with only branded and costly timepieces. They said that almost all low cost watches and even the shopowner’s laptop were left untouched by the burglars, suggesting a thorough reconnaissance of the shop was done before the final execution.
Interestingly, the only CCTV camera installed at the showroom was switched off when the store was closed around 8 pm on Friday after the day’s business. The shop owner has told police that switching off the camera every night was a route affair, which they had been doing to prevent short-circuits. “The electric wiring at the shop is very old so we have to take precautions,” said Dinesh Barodia, the owner of Gangoly Brothers.
BK Singh, deputy commissioner of police (New Delhi), said an FIR has been registered under sections 457 (house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence) and 380 (theft in dwelling house) of IPC at the Connaught Place police station.
“Teams have been formed to probe the case. We are trying to get CCTV footage from nearby shops and ATM booths and will examine them for clues,” said the DCP.
Barodia told HT that the crime came to notice around 8 am on Saturday after security guard Naresh Bahadur telephoned him and informed that somebody had broken the shutter using iron rods.
“Bahadur told me that both the locks on the shutter were intact. I along with my son Mayank Barodia rushed to the shop and called the police after seeing the partially broken shutter,” said Barodia adding the shop was opened in the presence of the police.
“Everything inside the shop was left upside down and over 600 watches and around R2 lakh in cash were missing. Watches that cost less than Rs5,000 were left untouched,” said Mayank, questioning the alertness of the city police. “The crime occurred barely 300 metres away from the Connaught Place police station and that too when maximum deployment of police was on the streets for national events,” he said.
Talking about the legacy of their business, Barodia said, “post Independence, Gangoly Brothers became the first watchmakers to first President of the Republic of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad, who himself had given them the appointment letter. We became partners of Gangoly Brothers in 1980 and eventually took over as the shop owner in 1984.”