For 54-year-old Delhi Police Head Constable Munshi Lal Meena, Tuesday night proved to be a lucky one. After spending several sleepless nights for almost a month, he finally managed to nab 30-year-old Mohammad Akram, and in turn, cracked at least 12 theft cases in the high-profile Lutyens’ zone and south Delhi.
During questioning, Akram, had admitted to committing the four back-to-back burglaries at Golf Links in April, the three thefts in Safdarjung Enclave in May, and the attempted theft on June 13. Incidentally, the houses that were burgled in Safdarjung Enclave fall under Meena’s beat division. “It was a big catch for us as we couldn’t find any leads in the cases. The head constable will be suitably rewarded,” Additional DCP Chinmoy Biswal said.
Meena, who is posted at Safdarjung Enclave police station, is deployed as a beat officer in the SDA division. He lives in the barracks at the police station and is on the job 24×7.
“Following the three burglaries in my division, I couldn’t sleep. I knew the thieves would strike again in my area. So, I requested the Station House Officer to assign a constable to help me, and assured him that I would work out the case soon,” he said. The last of these thefts took place at a house in Hauz Khas Enclave on May 30. “CCTV footage showed a blurred face of the thief. I increased the frequency of patrolling in the area. Constable Ram Das and I would patrol all night in separate locations, so that we didn’t miss any spot,” he added.
Thirteen days later, Meena got his break.
“I was patrolling on my motorcycle when, suddenly, around 3 am, I spotted a man hailing an autorickshaw. The moment he saw me, he grew anxious and got inside the vehicle quickly. I grew suspicious and caught hold of him by tugging his belt,” he said. “He started yelling, saying he has done nothing wrong. But when I checked his pockets, I found a pair of gloves and a scarf that he used for covering his face while breaking into houses. I immediately called up Constable Ram Das and other staff of the police station,” Meena said.
He added that Akram finally admitted that he had just come out of bungalow C-5/15 in SDA after a burglary attempt, and that the resident of the house had raised an alarm. When contacted, Namita Gokhale, the resident of the house, told The Indian Express, “I spotted a stranger in my bedroom and raised an alarm. But the thief fled. Police acted swiftly and nabbed him.”
Akram was first caught in 2004 by Greater Kailash police for barging into a house. “We took him to his house in Daryaganj and recovered some items,” said Meena.
Akram, whose name has surfaced in 16 burglaries so far, was fond of “living a luxurious life”. He also told police that he worked alone as “the possibility of being caught increases if one works with a gang”.