Underground telephone cables worth Rs 2 lakh were stolen from near the embassy of the Czech Republic in Chanakyapuri — one of the most heavily guarded areas of the Capital — leading to a partial disruption of phone lines in the diplomatic enclave last week.
According to sources, thieves dug a four to five feet deep hole next to the boundary wall of the embassy near the Shanti Path railway bridge. They were careful to strike at the only stretch of the road that remains hidden from CCTV cameras due to thick bushes.
Phone lines in several bungalows occupied by railway board officers and the Centre for Railway Information Systems were affected. Sources said telephone connections at the Czech embassy and a residential complex for their employees were also hit but the same could not be verified. Few residents of the complex said they faced problems with their phone lines but were unsure if they were caused by the theft.
The incident came to light on the morning of March 10 when, responding to complaints, a local engineer inspected the mini MTNL transformer installed at the Shanti Path railway bridge. On finding several wires missing, the engineer inspected the pavement nearby and noticed the hole dug by the thieves.
MTNL officials told the police that the stolen cables were polythene-insulated jelly filled (PIJF) ones that cost around `3,300 per metre. A total of four cables - each measuring around 15 metres - were stolen. Each PIJF cable is a bunch of 1,200 cables, an official said. Another official said it would have taken the thieves a few hours to dig the hole and cut through the thick cables.
"Traffic on the Shanti Path road is almost round the clock. The area near the (embassy's) boundary wall, which is the pavement of the Shanti Path railway bridge, is covered by bushes, making any activity there difficult to detect. We are interrogating the vagabonds and have quizzed a few guards in the area. A case has been registered," said a police officer.