Nine months after stealing jewellery and cash worth Rs 5 crore from more than 40 residents in Gurgaon, six members of a con gang found themselves in the police net on Wednesday only after victims took to social networking sites with CCTV footage and photos of the alleged accused.
The police acted after 21 victims shared CCTV footage and photos of the gang on social networking sites. The victims also formed a group on WhatsApp and discussed among themselves about ways to put an end to the frequent thefts. They said the police failed to recover the stolen ornaments. Some of the ornaments were more than 100 years old and were family heirlooms, one of the victims said.
The arrested six have been identified as Kajal and Poonam — both domestic helps — Ravi Kumar, Kajal’s husband, Shivam, and two jewellers —Vikas Kumar from Bhagalpur (Bihar) and Rakesh Kumar from Palam (Delhi).
The accused were involved in around 40 theft cases in Gurgaon, 20 in Faridabad and more than 100 in Delhi and Noida, the police said. Kajal alone was involved in 50 thefts, the police said.
Ravi Kumar’s smartphone was a major giveaway about the gang, which targeted upscale New Gurgaon residential areas such as DLF City phases 4 and 5, Sushant Lok, Sohna Road, Sector 56 and Sector 57. He stored snapshots of the gang members’ Aadhaar cards and other ID proofs, which helped the police nab six of them.
The police are on the lookout for masterminds Reena Devi, Meera Devi, Sundari, Seema and Nirmala Devi, who are from Bhagalpur.
The gang members, in teams of two, posed as domestic helps and robbed residents on the first day of their employment, the police said.
“The gang was operational in Gurgaon for nine months and targeted houses in several localities. They were not scared of being caught. The mobile phone that the police found had all details of the gang members. It also had photos of their Aadhaar cards, but the police did not bother to look at it,” Saloni Chawla, a senior executive at an MNC in Gurgaon and a resident of Sanskriti Apartments, Sector 43, claimed.
Though six of the gang members were nabbed on Wednesday, victims said they were disappointed with the “casual approach of the police”. They alleged that if the police were more active and conducted raids on time, more items would have been recovered and all members arrested.
“It is unfortunate that despite six arrests, the police could recover items worth Rs 50,000 only. The important members of the gang are still at large. The members have not spent even 5% of the stolen items as their expenses are not more than Rs 5,000 a month. They live frugally, so where did the ornaments and money go? The police also went to Bihar, but found nothing,” Dr Vani Relan Wasir, a victim and resident of DLF City phase 1, said.
The police are searching for two more jewellers — Santosh and Kailash — who allegedly bought stolen ornaments from the gang and sold it in different parts of the country. Another jeweller, Vishnu, is serving his sentence in Bhagalpur jail and the Gurgaon police will get his custody on production remand.
The gang divided the country in zones and the members sold the ornaments to jewellers who sold them in several states, inspector Yashwant Singh, in-charge of the crime unit, said.
When the police visited to a few jewellery shops in Gurgaon, they found them shut. Singh said the shopkeepers might have been tipped off.
“We gathered call records of some mobile numbers, which will lead us to the other accused. We are trying to find out about the other jewellers who bought the stolen ornaments,” assistant commissioner of police (DLF) Ramesh Pal said.