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‘Celebrity’ paan shop burgled in Lutyens’ Delhi, owner shocked but is back to business

Located right outside The Claridges hotel on Tees January Marg and operating from a counter under a large colourful umbrella, the shop is popular among its patrons as ‘Panditji Paan Ki Dukaan’.

delhi Updated: Feb 27, 2018 11:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Delhi news,paan shop,lutyens' delhi
Located right outside The Claridges hotel on Tees January Marg and operating from a counter under a large colourful umbrella, the shop is popular among its patrons as ‘Panditji Paan Ki Dukaan’.

A paan shop in Lutyens’ Delhi – that has the city’s celebrities and politicians among its patrons and has been in business for the last 35 years – was burgled of all its goods in the dead of the night last week.

Located right outside The Claridges hotel on Tees January Marg and operating from a counter under a large colourful umbrella, the shop is popular among its patrons as ‘Panditji Paan Ki Dukaan’.

On February 19, the shop’s owner, 60-year-old Ram Bachchan Pandey, wrapped up business a little after midnight. As usual, he kept all the paan leaves, some “special” zarda (flavoured tobacco used in paan), cigarettes and the regular utensils in the four shelves of the small counter that serves as his shop.

“When my attendant arrived at the shop at 6 am on Tuesday, he found the shelves broken and wiped clean. The thieves did not spare even the lotas (steel utensils used to wash the paan),” Pandey said. The stolen items, which included a basic mobile phone, were worth around Rs 75,000, Pandey estimated.

Pandey said he informed the beat policeman who allegedly told advised him that it was better to move on. “I think the policeman was right when he said that even if the stolen goods were found, there was no way to prove they belonged to me. CCTV cameras were of no help,” said Pandey, a native of Azamgarh.

Instead, Pandey bought a new maroon-coloured counter, this time with double locks, before continuing with business as if nothing happened. “Those steel containers you see in a row on the counter are all new. It is like starting my business all over again. But my customers will remain loyal. They like my paan and love my good behaviour,” said Pandey.

A police officer of Tughlaq Road police station said no official complaint had been made in connection with the theft. “If we received a complaint, we would have registered a FIR and investigated,” said the officer.

On Monday evening, his shop was buzzing with activity as his attendant packed half-a-dozen paan for a woman who stepped out of a SUV. “Customers keep visiting me through the day and until late night, but a lot of them want me to also pack a few paan so that they can have it through the week,” said Pandey.

First Published: Feb 26, 2018 22:57 IST