Pockets were picked and cellphones stolen as hundreds of admirers, politicians and party members queued up to pay homage to veteran CPI leader AB Bardhan on Monday.
At least 15 cellphones and wallets of serving and former lawmakers were lifted as the veteran Left leader’s body lay in state at Ajoy Bhavan, headquarters of the Communist Party of India, in central Delhi.
One of the first complaints the Delhi Police received was from party’s national secretary and Rajya Sabha MP D Raja.
He told police that a cellphone was stolen from his wife’s bag when they were at Ajoy Bhavan. “I have already informed the police and they have assured of swift investigation. Later at Nigambodh Ghat, I was told that a young comrade had also lost his cellphone,” the Left leader told HT.
Bardhan, 92, died in a city hospital on Saturday after a prolonged illness. His mortal remains were brought to Ajoy Bhavan to allow people to pay their last respects. The cremation was held at Nigambodh Ghat later in the day.
While police said they received complaints from only four party leaders, sources said many CPI members who came from outside the Capital like former West Bengal MP Pramod Panda left the city without filing a complaint.
Former Kerala minister of forests and housing Binay Vishram and party general secretary BV Vijaylakshmi, a former MP, too reported their phones missing. Vishram, it is learnt, complained that his two cellphones were stolen.
The cases have been registered at the IP Estate police station.
In his complaint, general secretary and youth vice-president Ginu Zacharia Oommen said he had gone to pay his last respects to Bardhan and later found his phone and wallet, which had some cash and ATM cards, missing.
Police were looking into the complaints, DCP(Central) Parmaditya said.
A huge crowd had gathered here on Monday, a party member told HT at Ajoy Bhavan. “There is no CCTV here. Many of our comrades have reported that their phones were stolen. Most of them had come from Kolkata and Kerala. They have all returned,” he said, on condition of anonymity.