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He stole her dowry, she still married him

A would-be groom couldn't wait till marriage and stole his bride's dowry and was arrested by the police. The bride, however, is still marrying him.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2006 18:46 IST

Her fiancé stole ornaments painstakingly bought by her poor parents, but a Mumbai girl still insists on going ahead with the wedding, which will now take place as soon as the would-be groom returns from jail.

Just last month, Pandurang Mahant, 50, who lives in Asia'a largest slum Dharavi, was happy at having arranged his youngest daughter Shanthi's marriage for the third week of December.

Mahant, who runs a catering service, managed to put together ornaments worth Rs 60,000 and Rs5,000 in cash as dowry.

On November 25, when the Mahants returned home from a shopping trip they discovered to their horror that the ornaments and cash were stolen. Stunned by the loss, they had no choice but to postpone the wedding.

On December 14, Mahant had surprise visitors - officials of the Dharavi police station. But the news they brought was even more shattering for the Mahants - their future son-in-law Mangesh Talvarkar, 25, had admitted to the robbery.

The Mahants initially refused to believe the investigating officers, saying that Talvarkar was "a very good person" and that they would never suspect him of such a crime.

However, the police had every reason to trace the robbery to Shanthi's fiancé as they knew it was an inside job.

"Everything in Mahant's house was intact. Only the suitcase containing the wedding jewels and cash kept in a cupboard was gone. The family had gone out that day and locked the front door," said police official P.C. Sonewane.

"I was sure that it was a inside job. But who? I got no lead until Shanti told me that her fiancé occasionally visited them.

"On Dec 12, we detained Talvarkar for questioning. Initially, he denied having anything to do with the crime. But after a through interrogation, he confessed," Sonewane told IANS.

Talvarkar, also a resident of Dharavi, told the police that he had previously stolen a duplicate key of the Mahants' house and had been since waiting for the house to be left empty.

Police recovered the loot, which Talvarkar had kept with a security guard at a marriage hall in Dharavi - the very hall where his marriage ceremony was to be held.

As for the bride and her father, they still insist that the marriage be solemnised quickly. "I want the marriage to be over as soon as possible," said the shaken father.

"It is strange that after learning that the boy stole her very wedding jewels, the girl still wants to marry him and even the father wants to give away his daughter to him," said an exasperated Deputy Commissioner of Police D N Phadtare.

First Published: Dec 20, 2006 19:06 IST