The busy Meenatai Thackeray Chowk in Thane (W) witnessed much drama on Saturday afternoon when a 17-year-old boy snatched the revolver of an unsuspecting traffic police sub-inspector who was on duty at the chowk.
Police Sub-Inspector Rajendra Choughule from the Kapurbawdi Traffic Police branch was writing a challan (penalty receipt) when Rashid Khan (not his real name), a Gokulnagar resident, snatched his revolver and fled.
It took 45 policemen, a dog squad and a combing operation lasting over three hours to nab Khan. The police have seized the revolver, which was loaded with five rounds.
“Choughule was near his bike and writing the receipt. He was bent over and didn’t realise when the man came close and removed the revolver from the holster,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (west region) Vivek Phansalkar.
“We saw a man in a yellow shirt and black trousers approach Choughule,” said Mohnish Gujare who was at a nearby fruit stall when the incident occurred. “Initially we thought he had snatched the keys of Choughule’s motorcycle. It is only when Choughule yelled ‘My gun’, that we realised what had happened.”
Choughule and some locals chased Khan but he managed to escape. He was later caught with the help of some locals, including three journalists.
Khan’s sister, who works for a local newspaper, learnt what her brother had done and that he was hiding at their grandmother’s Bhiwandi home. She informed the newspaper’s editor, who in turn contacted Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sudhir Dabhade. Khan was nabbed in the evening.
The police said Khan was fed up of his family’s financial condition. “His father was out of work for some time. His two elder sisters earn meagre salaries. He wants to work but doesn’t get a job as he is only 17,” said Jadhav.
The police have filed a case of robbery against Khan. The police will also conduct an ossification test to verify his age.