The Delhi Police arrested three brothers, all habitual offenders, on Saturday night for allegedly breaking into three flats, including Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s house, in Kalkaji.
The robbers broke into Satyarthi’s house on February 7 and stole a replica of the Nobel medal with a citation, he won two years ago, his wife’s jewellery, wrist watch and several medals and awards awarded to him by different countries.
While the replica of the Nobel medal and other medals were recovered from the arrested burglars, the ‘citation’ of the recognition could not be found till Sunday evening.
“I have complete faith in the government, the police and the people of this great nation. I thank the Delhi Police for the brilliant and speedy recovery of the items stolen from my residence and I hope that the Nobel citation is recovered soon as well. Nothing can deter my mission to work towards my children,” said Satyarthi.
The child right activist had earlier described the citation and replica of Noble medal as something of national importance. He had even made a request to the suspects to return it.
The burgalrs, identified as Vinod alias Pinki, Sunil aka Sonu and Rajan alias Natta, told police that they dumped the citation somewhere on the way while they were returning to their hideouts in Sangam Vihar after burgling the flats in the Aravali Apartments.
Some police officers suspect that the citation may have been destroyed by the thieves after they realised that it was of no use and monetary value to them. Senior police officers, however, are still hoping to recover it.
Romil Baaniya, deputy commissioner of police (southeast), said, “We did not find the Nobel citation from the possession of the criminals but we are trying our best to recover it.”
Within hours of the arrest, Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik tweeted: “Was greatly concerned about theft of Shri Satyarthi’s prestigious Nobel Medal replica. Proud that Delhi Police recovered it in quick time (sic).”
RP Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (southeastern range), said that 10 teams were formed to probe the case and arrest the burglars. Satyarthi had gone to the US when his flat was burgled on the intervening night of February 7 and 8.
“As we began our probe, we learnt that similar burglaries took place in flats No. 56 and 99, which were also locked, on the same night. The CCTV camera footage was not of much help because two faces were muffled while the third suspect’s face was not very clear,” said Upadhyay.
Sticking to their traditional style of investigation, investigators prepared a list of burglars who committed similar burglaries in the past and with similar modus operandi. A list of over 100 such criminals, who had recently been bailed out, was prepared. Most of them were thoroughly interrogated during which names of Rajan and his two brothers surfaced.
“Rajan was jailed last year for burgling a flat in Shivalik Apartments. We went to his home and found that he and his two brothers were missing for the past few days. The three were residing in the shanties near Aravali Apartments since birth but shifted to Sangam Vihar in 2005-06. But, they worked in the same locality as labourers and were well aware about the topography of the area,” the joint CP said.
Further probe led to the arrest of Rajan and his two brothers and recover a majority of the items stolen from the three flats. The burglars were unaware of the value of the medals and citation they had stolen from Satyarthi’s flat. They claimed that they understood the magnitude of their crime only after watching news about it the next morning.
“The three were so scared that they did not even attempt to dispose off the stolen items,” said an officer.