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Cops’ wait to arrest minor ends

This is one birthday the Delhi Police were waiting to ‘celebrate’. One of the members of the infamous fire-brand gang will turn 18 on Sunday, giving the police a chance to arrest him.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2010 01:04 IST
Vijaita Singh
Vijaita Singh
Hindustan Times

This is one birthday the Delhi Police were waiting to ‘celebrate’. One of the members of the infamous fire-brand gang will turn 18 on Sunday, giving the police a chance to arrest him.

The juvenile, who took to crime at the age of 10, led a gang of 30 adults. He is involved in more than 1,000 incidents of burglary, including 17 cases of arson in government colonies.

The dangerous gang of robbers used to break into houses in government colonies, make away with cash and valuables, and set the house on fire before leaving.

However, the police could not lay their hands on the boy, as the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2000 prohibits the arrest of anyone below the age of 18 years. Instead, he should be kept at an observation home, the law says.

Interestingly, the juvenile had escaped seven times from the observation home. Every time he was apprehended, he challenged the police and said he would strike again.

“The juvenile act prohibited us from arresting him. But now that he will turn 18, we are looking for all the legal provisions under which action can be taken against him,” said HGS Dhaliwal, DCP (south).

“Every time he escapes from a juvenile home, he visits a shani temple. After thanking the god, he sets out to rob and burn government accommodations in south Delhi. He would decamp with whatever he could lay his hands on. He did not spare anything — ghee, rice, spices and even children’s clothes,” said a senior police officer.

The boy used to spend the stolen cash on smack, expensive clothes and girlfriends, the officer added. The last time he escaped, he broke into a house in Sarojini Nagar, the police said.

According to the police, the boy has scaled walls, used drainpipes and even the car of a superintendent at the children’s home to escape.
The boy had told the police he started committing burglaries at the age of 10 and has not stopped since.

“He says that he took to crime due to bad behaviour by his alcoholic father. He lived on a pavement in Sarojini Nagar in south Delhi,” said the officer.

First Published: Dec 26, 2010 01:01 IST