Two weeks ago, a 12-year-old boy was caught stealing from passengers aboard a DTC bus. The child was taken to Darya Ganj police station, where he was categorised as a juvenile in conflict with law. Police, however, found that the boy was addicted to solution tubes — he could barely stand up and was experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms. Police then categorised him as a child in need of care and protection.
When they questioned the child, in the presence of local NGO officials, he told them about a man selling solution tubes near Red Fort — leading police to the doorstep of the capital’s first solution tube selling ‘gang’.
Police then went to Red Fort, and found Noor Mohammad — a mid-level supplier. He disclosed the name of another gang member, Raj Kumar, who owned a shop near Old Delhi Railway station and sold tubes to children. “Mohammad was arrested and we seized 120 tubes from him. He directed us to Kumar’s house in SP Mukherjee Marg. Kumar has been working at the shop for 10 years but started selling solution tubes to children four-five years ago,” a police officer said.
Additional DCP (Central) Anto Alphonse said, “We have arrested three others — Chandan Kumar, Jagdish and Sameer. We confiscated 20 tubes each from them. We also apprehended four juveniles employed by the gang.”
Police also said they have recovered 19,440 solution tubes worth Rs 4.15 lakh. Police also said Kumar made a profit of Rs 2 lakh from selling tubes to children. According to police, the case came to light on December 7. A commuter on a DTC bus, Deepak Kumar, alerted police about a young boy trying to steal from passengers. “We treated the child like someone in need and tried to find out who was selling solutions to children,” SHO, Darya Ganj police station, Mangesh Gedam.
During investigation, police said it made contact with a gang comprising juveniles and adults peddling solution tubes. “It wasn’t an organised gang. But they knew each other and operated in the same area,” an officer said. Police will now try to ascertain the number of children became addicted to these tubes, after which they will be rehabilitated. The 12-year-old, meanwhile, was produced before the Child Welfare Commission and rehabilitated by an NGO, police said.