POLICE have registered over 70 FIRs related to the theft of cash, mobile phones, laptops and even an idol of Ganesh from participants at the three-day World Culture Festival that ended Sunday on the banks of the Yamuna. They have also arrested 30 people, including four women, for the alleged thefts.
“We have nabbed several people who came from outside Delhi, and recovered a large number of stolen valuables from their possession,” said Manpreet Singh Randhawa, DCP, Delhi Police. Apart from Delhi, those arrested were from Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Police sources said that 19 cases of theft were filed on Saturday, and over 30 FIRs registered on the last day of the event. They indicated that the number of FIRs could rise as many complaints were still being processed. The festival was organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living.
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The Ganesh idol was stolen from one of the stalls at the venue, with the owner telling police that the theft occurred on Sunday night, said sources.
One of the complainants, Shamsur Rehman, a Bharatanatyam teacher from Lucknow, said his laptop was stolen from the green room at the venue on Friday. “I had kept my laptop along with other belongings. But when I returned after the performance, I found it missing. I went back to Lucknow but came to Delhi today to lodge my complaint,” he said.
Another complainant, a US citizen who did not wish to be identified, said he managed to pin down a thief who allegedly tried to steal his mobile phone from his pocket on Saturday. Police recovered Rs 37,000 from the thief’s pocket which he confessed was stolen from other visitors, he added.
Police sources said one of the women arrested was a 35-year-old who was nabbed by a participant when she was trying to steal her purse. The accused admitted that she was involved in past incidents of theft in the capital, too, said sources.