The Mumbai Police arrested two men on Tuesday who allegedly stole a litter of six kittens after union minister Maneka Gandhi intervened following an email from the family of the animals’ owner.
The family of Sulochana, a resident of Chuim village in Khar, claimed that Gandhi called up the local police post in Khar after they sent her an email that two sweepers had stolen their kittens.
Sulochana said she and her husband had seen two sweepers trying to put one of their cats into a gunny bag. When her husband confronted them, the two fled but then the family found that the cat’s litter of six kittens had disappeared. The kittens are yet to be traced.
Sulochana’s daughter Tina told Hindustan Times, “We called the police control room on the emergency number 100 and within 15 minutes police reached our door step. We also wrote an email to Mrs. Gandhi who called up the police station. Both Mrs. Gandhi and Mumbai police acted promptly and helped us. We hope the police find our kittens.”
When asked what could be the reason for the kittens being stolen, Tina replied, “A neighbour seems to have a problem. We have learnt that the accused were promised some money to get rid of the kittens. What harm did they cause anyone?”
An emotional Sulochana said “A day after my father’s demise a cat came to our doorstep and I looked after her. For 12 years, I have kept over 20 cats as pets. I have taken good care of them. They are harmless. The kittens are very dear to us.”
The Khar police have booked the sweepers, Shiva Chandaliya and Baljeet Chandaliya, residents of Bharat Nagar, Bandra, for theft under section 379 of the Indian Penal Code. They face up to three years in jail.
Their lawyer, Ankit Mota, said, “My clients have been made scapegoats. The issue was between the two neighbours.”
The two were granted bail by the magistrate’s court but neither had surety nor Rs15,000 each for cash for the bail and therefore were sent to judicial custody. They will have to remain in Arthur Road jail till someone pays their bail amount.