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Pak businesswoman stranded at Delhi trade fair after thief steals her bag

A Pakistani businesswoman found herself stranded without any cash or mobile phone after her bag was stolen at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Sunday evening.

delhi Updated: Nov 21, 2017 23:50 IST
Shiv Sunny
Shiv Sunny
HIndustan Times
Pakistan woman robbed,trade fair,Pragati Maida
Visitors at the trade fair in Pragati Maidan.(Sanchit Khanna/HT FILE)

A Pakistani businesswoman found herself stranded without any cash or mobile phone after her bag was stolen at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan on Sunday evening.

The 48-year-old woman, who has set up a garments stall at the ongoing trade fair, lost nearly Rs 2.25 lakh cash in various currencies. But the worst awaited her when she couldn’t even enter the IITF premises on Monday because she had lost her entry card. It was only when the police stepped in that the woman could enter the fair.

“Yesterday (Monday), I waited outside for a long time before police facilitated my entry. Today, I purchased a visitor’s ticket to gain entry,” Sapna Kavita Oberoi, told HT over phone.

“The thief was captured in the CCTV cameras and a special team has been formed to identify and nab him. We have circulated his photograph in the police department and have also sought the help of the special cell,” the Station House Officer (IITF) told HT.

Oberoi lives in Mandi Bahauddin city in Pakistan. She runs a garments business there and is in Delhi to showcase Pakistani products at the trade fair in which public entry was allowed last Saturday. Her stall is in hall number 14 of the fair.

Oberoi was attending to visitors at her stall around 5.30pm on Sunday when the theft happened. “A young man wearing a black jacket distracted my attention by asking me to show some of the suits at my stall. He used the opportunity to steal my parachute bag,” Oberoi told police in her complaint.

The police officer said the L-shaped desk under which her bag was kept “allowed visitors to easily see her bag”. The bag had Oberoi’s purse that contained her mobile phone, debit and credit cards, and cash in the United States, Indian and Pakistani currencies. Her stolen mobile phone continues to ring.

“I immediately approached the local police, but they did not register a case that day. I am unaware of the laws here, so I don’t know what prevented them,” she said.

Police blamed the delay on Oberoi’s alleged inability to provide all necessary details. “Since her mobile phone was stolen, she was unable to provide any contact details. She was also unable to mention her local address. Because of these shortcomings, we could not register a FIR on the same day. But we registered a case the next morning when she visited us again,” said the officer.

Meanwhile, the woman struggled to even get back to her hotel in Karol Bagh after the theft. “I did not have a single penny with me. My only mobile phone was stolen. Fortunately, my passport was kept on my desk, so it was not stolen,” said the woman who had arrived alone in Delhi.

She later reached out to one of her relatives in the city who helped her financially as well as provided an alternate contact number.

Oberoi is in the city for three more days and is desperate. “I came to a new country with so much hopes. I did not know I will return without any penny or my documents. I request the police to help me get back my money before I leave. Once I leave India, there will be no point in catching the thief,” she said.

The security in and outside the IITF premises is provided by nearly 1,500 security personnel and there is “constant patrolling” as thousands of people visit the fair everyday during the 10 days it is open for the general public. Thieves and pickpockets find these visitors an easy target.

“This time we have already arrested around 15 thieves and recovered several mobile phones. From two thieves who operated together, we recovered seven mobile phones,” said a senior officer deployed at the fair.

First Published: Nov 21, 2017 23:50 IST