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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

Former MTNL employee leads gang that stole cables using excavator

Dressed in fluorescent jackets and construction hats that are usually worn by workers, the thieves would use a hired excavator machine to dig out the MTNL cables.

delhi Updated: Dec 26, 2017 00:25 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
Hindustan Times
The cable thieves.
The cable thieves.

Led by a former MTNL employee, a gang of five men had been posing as BSES staffers to steal underground telephone cables laid out in the city, police said on Monday.

Dressed in fluorescent jackets and construction hats that are usually worn by workers, the thieves would use a hired excavator machine to dig out the MTNL cables.

To get away with their daring crime, the gang relied on their “confident personas” whenever they were questioned. However, it was the same confidence that exposed their crime and led to their arrests.

Having arrested the five suspects on Monday, Omvir Singh, DCP (east), said the gang had stolen cables at least 13 times this year alone. “We have linked this gang to 13 FIRs registered in connection with MTNL cable thefts in east Delhi alone,” said the DCP.

The gang was allegedly led by 40-year-old Shahid, whom police identified only by his first name. “Shahid has revealed that he worked as a cable jointer with MTNL from 2001 to 2010. His job allowed him to learn how to uproot the cables. After quitting his job, he formed a gang and began stealing cables,” said the DCP.

The gang had allegedly been hiring an excavator machine from a resident of Bhalswa Dairy in outer Delhi and had been selling the cables to a scrap dealer in RK Puram. The duo is absconding.

Explaining the modus operandi, an investigator not authorized to speak to the media said that the gang posed as BSES employees while going about their thefts.

“The thieves would be dressed appropriately. Their fluorescent jackets and helmets did not leave much scope for suspicion. They also used fluorescent tapes to keep vehicles out of bounds from the spot they were stealing,” said the investigator.

“If some one questioned them, they would say they were working for the BSES and were replacing cables that had ‘expired’. Their confidence in dealing with suspicious people ensured they went about undetected for a year,” said the officer.

But their luck died down on December 10 when they were stealing from New Ashok Nagar. “While digging, the inadvertently ended up sending an alarm to the MTNL authorities. That brought two MTNL officials to the spot,” said the officer, adding it was yet to be probed whether any such alerts had been received by the authorities in the past.

When confronted by the authorities, the thieves decided to enter into a “quarrel” with them instead of fleeing. “Seeing the two groups quarrelling, a policeman passing by questioned them. The real story then came out in no time,” said the officer.

Realising that they were dealing with police, the thieves allegedly fled the spot, leaving the excavator machine and many other equipments behind. But that was enough for the police to identify the suspects. All the five men were arrested from different parts of the city by Monday and their equipments recovered.

First Published: Dec 26, 2017 00:25 IST

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