Two days after the Delhi Police arrested their leader - Sanjeev Kumar - the burgle-and-burn gang made its presence felt yet again. This time, it burgled a businessman's residence in northwest Delhi's Trinagar area and decamped with R3 lakh, before setting the house ablaze, on Monday.
"The incident was reported at 1.15am from 40-year-old Sanjay Jain's residence in Trinagar's Omkar Nagar. Jain was away at a function with his family when the incident occurred," said a police officer.
Police said Jain had gone to Rohini to attend the wedding of his nephew when his neighbours told him that his house was on fire and that the blaze had engulfed both its ground and first floors.
"The main door of the house was open and the entire house was ransacked. The ground floor was completely charred and everything inside had turned to ashes. Not a single cloth was spared by the criminals. Jain claims that cash and jewellery worth more than R3 lakh is missing since the incident," the officer said.
Yet, despite glaring similarities to the modus operandi of the dreaded burgle-and-burn gang - that is understood to be behind more than 1,500 incidents of arson-cum-burglary at government officials' homes in south Delhi - police insisted that the incident had been perpetrated by a different gang. They said this other gang has merely copied Sanjeev's gang's modus operandi.
"Before committing the crime, this particular gang had erected a tent outside the targeted house to avoid suspicion among neighbours. They had hired the tent in the name of the house owner by paying Rs 500 in advance to a nearby tent decorator," said the officer.