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Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019

Snatchers who attacked scribe in Delhi last month held after gunfight

The police said the suspects fired eight rounds at them in the shoot-out that took place on a slip road near the railway station and the Barapullah Flyover around 4am.

delhi Updated: Oct 12, 2019 00:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Anil was one of the snatchers who attacked Bagchi.
Anil was one of the snatchers who attacked Bagchi. (Ht Photos)

Two men who were wanted for injuring a journalist while snatching her mobile phone in the national capital last month were arrested on Friday after a shoot-out with the Delhi Police near the Nizamuddin railway station, according to investigators.

The 26-year-old journalist, Joymala Bagchi, fractured her jawbone and suffered multiple injuries to her face and elbows after falling out of an auto-rickshaw while trying to stop the two men from snatching her mobile phone on September 22. They also hurled abuses at the woman while fleeing, the police said.

On Friday, one of the suspects, 26-year-old Anil, was shot in his arm and leg while his associate, 24-year-old Arun, was hit in his leg. Both were taken to the AIIMS Trauma Centre where they were out of danger, said deputy commissioner of police (special cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav.

Bagchi wasn’t immediately able to confirm whether the two people arrested on Friday were the same men who attacked her in south Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park (CR Park).

The police said the suspects fired eight rounds at them in the shoot-out that took place on a slip road near the railway station and the Barapullah Flyover around 4am. “We fired four rounds and hit the suspects thrice. We have recovered two pistols and four bullets from them,” Yadav said.

The DCP said that the police set up a trap after receiving a tip-off that the two would be passing by on a motorcycle. “When they found themselves surrounded by the police, they began firing at us. We fired in self-defence,” he added.

Yadav said that Anil and Arun, both of whom go by only their first names, have been involved in several crimes since 2011 and have been booked in 31 and eight cases, respectively. “They have been arrested multiple times, including once for allegedly killing someone over a monetary dispute in 2015,” he added.

“In the last two months, they committed at least 30 snatchings and robberies. They targeted people across the city,” the DCP said.

Cases of snatching in the city have become increasingly violent in the recent months. As per data on the Delhi Police website, 4,273 cases of snatching have been reported till August, which equates to 18 cases a day.

Yadav said that the duo’s last-known victim was Bagchi, who works with a news agency. She is yet to recover from her injuries and report to work.

The police had detained a suspect days after the incident, but he was found to have had no role in the crime.

On Friday, Bagchi said she wasn’t certain that the men arrested after the encounter were the same people who attacked her. “I couldn’t see the face of the motorcycle rider that day, but I had seen the pillion rider’s face. He looked much younger than the images of the arrested suspects,” she said. In her statement to the police after the crime, she had described the snatchers as being aged between 18 and 19.

The police refused to comment on her latest remark and said that it was a matter of further investigation. They, however, said the arrested men had confessed to committing the crime in CR Park.

“The white Apache motorcycle they were seen riding in CCTV footage after the snatching was the same they were on during the encounter,” said an investigator who did not wish to be identified.

First Published: Oct 12, 2019 00:39 IST

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