Having all his details recorded by the local police did not stop Lalbahadur Sood from planning, then executing a brazen robbery at the Cool Breeze building in Juhu on Wednesday.
Sood was registered under the 2011 ‘society cop’ scheme, which made it mandatory for police officials in the area to ensure that all drivers, watchmen, house helps, tenants and senior citizens from the four or five housing societies under their jurisdiction were listed with them.
“Because Sood was registered with the Juhu police, we have all his information — his picture, the address of his native place, age, phone number and addresses of his two referees. Sood and his accomplices will be traced soon,” said Cherring Dorje, zonal deputy commissioner of police.
The police said the victim, Sonal Shah, lives on the third floor of the building with her husband, Milan who works with a builder, and their daughter.
On Wednesday, Milan and the daughter left for work within fifteen minutes of each other at around 9am. An hour later, Shah was leaving home to visit a doctor when Sood and his accomplices, who were hiding on the stairs between the third and fourth floors, approached her as she was locking the door.
“They did not hurt her because she told them not to harm her and that they could take whatever they wanted. They put a veil on her, dragged her inside the apartment after making her unlock it, then fled with the valuables. They were not carrying any weapons,”
said an official from the Juhu police station.
The police said the trio fled the spot immediately. Shah quickly called her husband and daughter. Soon, the police arrived and a case was
“Sonal has not sustained any injuries,” the official added.
The Juhu police have registered a case under Indian Penal Code sections 342 for wrongful confinement, 392 for robbery, 452 for house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint and 34 for common intent against the three accused.
‘Who knew a guard would let them down?’
Mumbai: Caught unawares by the slickly planned robbery, residents of the Cool Breeze building in Juhu said they will no longer take security in the area for granted.
Lana Lin, a 55-year-old woman who has been running a beauty parlour on the ground floor of the building for 32 years said it was the first time an untoward incident had taken place there.
“This is primarily a residential area and everyone has always felt safe here,” she said. The door to my parlour is never latched during working hours because we never imagined something like this could happen. Now we will be more cautious.”
Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said, “We are all shocked, especially because the incident took place in the day. The watchman had the nerve to commit the crime within the confines of the society without the fear of getting caught red-handed. I think he was monitoring her [the victim’s] family for some time.”
Jahaan, another watchman who works in the building said, “Bahadur [the main accused, Lalbahadur Sood] would often sit and chat with 10 to 15 of his friends in the building premises every afternoon. But no one objected but no one suspected that a security guard would let them down.”
SS Arora, who also lives in the building, however, said the management of the building for being disorganised.
“We do not even know who hired the watchman and if his credentials were checked before giving him the job. The society’s management is unstable, and no member has been designated president of the management committee,” he said.
“The shabby management structure here is to blame for the incident.”