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Minutes after snatching gold chain at India Gate, man gets caught at traffic signal

Police later identified the snatcher as Faizan Ali, a resident of Brahmapuri in north-east Delhi. Police said that a team patrolling the area arrested Ali.

delhi Updated: May 29, 2019 07:16 IST
Prawesh Lama
Prawesh Lama
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
chain snatching,traffic signal,Delhi
The woman told police that on her way to the parking space, a young man came from behind and snatched her gold mangalsutra. (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

Last Saturday, at exactly 10.20 am, when a traffic light malfunctioned for a few seconds at India Gate roundabout, it wasn’t significant. It may have even gone unnoticed; after all, everyday 1,500 traffic lights in Delhi experience such problems every day. But it was different that Saturday.

As the green light suddenly turned red and an auto-rickshaw driver hurriedly applied his vehicle’s brakes, it brought luck — good and bad — for the two characters involved in a Delhi crime story. The two were a woman whose gold mangalsutra (an ornament worn around the neck by married women in India) was snatched and the man who thought he had gotten away with the crime.

At around 10 am on Saturday, 50-year-old Garlapathi Saritha was at the India Gate lawns with her husband. The couple, originally from Andhra Pradesh, was done sight-seeing and was returning to the parking lot near the C-Hexagon on Rajpath. The woman told police that on her way to the parking space, a young man came from behind and snatched her gold mangalsutra.

Saritha said that before she could react, the man ran and hopped onto a black motorcycle on the road.

“There was a motorcycle waiting for him. The man had his accomplice waiting for him. I raised an alarm and shouted for help,” Saritha wrote in her complaint.

As the two snatchers tried to speed away on their bike, the signal at the C Hexagon turned red. The green light normally turns yellow, warning vehicles to slow their speed before turning red. According to the police complaint, when the auto-rickshaw driver abruptly applied his brakes, the bike behind him, being driven by the snatchers, had no time to stop.

“The bike hit the auto-rickshaw before crashing on the ground. The bikers were shocked at what happened. Locals had gathered. They wasted no time in beating up one of the snatchers,” an investigating police officer said adding that the other person on the bike managed to flee the spot, leaving the bike behind.

Police later identified the snatcher as Faizan Ali, a resident of Brahmapuri in north-east Delhi. Police said that a team patrolling the area arrested Ali. The man told police he worked as a labourer and that it was his first attempt at snatching.

Saritha’s husband, Garlapati Subramanyeswara, a retired government employee, said the mangasutra was three decades old. “There is a lot of sentiment attached to the ornament. I wanted to thank the auto driver but he left the spot within minutes. We have recovered the chain. We were in Delhi for just two days and his happened. It was scary.”

The national capital reports at least 18-25 cases of snatching from across the city every day — mostly of chains and phones. Last year, over 5,000 cases of snatching were reported across Delhi. Until May 15 this year, there have been 2,444 such cases.

First Published: May 29, 2019 00:44 IST