June 4, 2021 3:27:00 am
A RECENT trend of increased involvement of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic engaging in criminal activities has worried investigators.
Incidents involving recently jobless people indulging in petty thefts, burglaries, snatchings and even heinous crimes like kidnapping for ransom, robberies on gunpoint and drug peddling have grown in the past few months.
Chandigarh and Panchkula have recorded at least a dozen such incidents in the last six months.
“We have been observing that in almost every crime these days, either one or more than one aspect is related to Covid-19. Either the accused involved in the crime was affected with the pandemic’s adverse effects or the victim is suffering the losses. Besides so many cases, we arrested five people including the driver of a woman, who was kidnapped along with her car near Raipurrani on April 17. The interrogation revealed that four of the friends of the woman’s driver were running a nightclub in Zirakpur. They suffered losses due to the pandemic. To deal with that, they hatched a conspiracy to kidnap the woman for a ransom. They were successful but were arrested late,” said Inspector Aman Kumar, incharge of Panchkula crime branch.
The give accused were identified as Satinder Singh alias Sonu, 25; Ravi Sharma alias Pander, 25; Kamaljeet Singh alias Sucha; Jaswinder Singh alias Jassi, 26, (all residents of Dera Bassi); and Yajur Pandey alias Noni, 26, of Ludhiana, who had been living in Zirakpur. They are currently lodged in Ambala Central Jail.
“There are various people arrested for petty offences, who confessed to choosing the crime merely due to job losses in the pandemic,” added Inspector Aman Kumar.
Meanwhile, a police officer from Chandigarh pointed out that since these people have no experience of committing crimes, they are caught and arrested easily.
On May 27, two men were arrested for stealing 12 laptops and eight smartphones within 24 hours of committing the crime near Sector 11. The two had lost jobs in the second wave of COVID-19 in March this year.
“Interrogation of the two revealed that both had lost their marketing jobs due to Covid-19. We managed to arrest them within 24 hours. We also observed in many cases that people are being caught easily as opposed to hardcore criminals. The two had been earning between Rs 18,000 and Rs 29,000 with incentives every month before losing their jobs,” said Inspector HS Sekhon, incharge crime branch, UT.
On February 10, a pharmacist was arrested for gunpoint robbery of Rs 8.65 lakh from the Chandigarh State Co-operative Bank Private Limited in Sector 61 in broad daylight. He was held merely two days after committing the crime. The interrogation of the pharmacist revealed that he decided to rob the bank after losing his job in the pandemic. He had used a toy pistol for executing the crime.
When the first wave of Covid hit, the UT administration had forwarded a helping hand for people losing their jobs. “During the first wave, we received names, contact numbers and particulars of hundreds of people, who somehow lost their jobs and migrated to their native places. And when the situation improved, we circulated the lists to the members of industrial units, market associations, the Chandigarh Beopar Mandals etc to call suitable persons as per their requirements. This had worked,” said Additional Labour Commissioner, Chandigarh, Varun Beniwal.
“However, during the second wave, as the manufacturing units, industrial units were not closed, we have not received much feedback,” added Beniwal.
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