For Iranian national Mahmood Mehdi Khatibi, a sightseeing trip to south Mumbai proved to be too expensive.
On Monday, three street urchins, pretending to be beggars, robbed the 56-year-old businessman of Rs 2.34 lakh from near the Metro theatre — barely 200 m away from the Mumbai police headquarters.
This is the second such incident in two months. In April, some street urchins had robbed an Ugandan professor of Rs 1.37 lakh outside Heera Panna shopping centre at Tardeo.
According to the Azad Maidan police, Khatibi, who reached Mumbai four days ago and is staying at the White Pearl Hotel near Radio Club in Colaba, was roaming the area with his two friends. The three were walking towards Metro theatre around 9 pm when three boys, teenagers between 17 and 18 years, approached them and started begging.
“Two of the urchins touched the feet of Khatibi’s friends and refused to let go while the third bent towards Khatibi. Khatibi tried to chase away the urchins. The boy at his feet grabbed Khatibi’s pocket where he had kept US $5,000 (Rs 2.34 lakh),” said Inspector P. Desai, attached to Azad Maidan police station.
The urchin took the money and the three of them fled before Khatibi could do anything.
Khatibi and his friends approached the police and registered a complaint.
“The beggars at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus area come from across the city. So, we cannot be sure where these urchins live. Investigations are on and suspicious people handing out dollars will be caught for questioning,” said Azad Maidan police officials.
The police said language of the trio was a problem and they were trying for a translator.
Desai said there might be a connection between Monday’s case and the Heera Panna robbery and would approach the Tardeo police.
“We suspect that the people who are involved in both the robberies may be connected. The target of this gang seem to be foreigners on foot,” he said.