A day after they allegedly snatched the handbag of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s niece Damyanti Modi, two men were arrested Sunday. The woman was getting out of an auto and was with her husband and children when the incident took place in Civil Lines early Saturday morning.
Police said initial investigation revealed that the duo, Gaurav alias Noni and Badal, were in North Delhi to buy narcotics but did not have enough money. Police said they followed the woman for a kilometre on their scooter and snatched her bag when they saw a chance. They then bought drugs from a dealer and went to Sultanpuri.
Police said Gaurav was detained from his mother-in-law’s house in Sonipat by a special staff team of the Central district, who later handed him over to North District police. Badal was arrested from Sultanpuri after his elder brother informed police about his hideout. Special Cell and Crime Branch teams had also been put on the case so the accused are arrested promptly.
The incident took place around 7 am when Damyanti (40), her husband and their two daughters had just reached Shree Delhi Gujarati Samaj in Civil Lines from Delhi Junction Railway Station. “My husband was offloading the luggage and I was inside the auto when the two men came and snatched the bag from my lap. The bag had two mobile phones, Aadhaar cards of the family, credit and debit cards and Rs 56,000 in cash,” she said.
Police found CCTV footage of the accused, which was shared with all specialised police units.
“Gaurav was identified from the footage and a team from the North District went to Sultanpuri to arrest him, but he managed to escape. He took an auto to Uttam Nagar, where he had been staying with his wife for the last two-and-a-half months. The couple then went to Sonipat, where his wife’s mother lives. When he left Sultanpuri, he switched off his phone and used his wife’s phone. His wife’s number was traced and a Central district reached Sonipat… At 4.25 am, the team conducted a raid and arrested him,” said a senior police officer.
During questioning, Gaurav told police that he started consuming drugs at an early age. “He was apprehended thrice in snatching cases as a juvenile. As no dossiers of juveniles are maintained, there was no record of his previous cases,” the officer said. Police said his mother used to work as an informer.
DCP (North) Monika Bhardwaj said the duo were not wearing helmets when they committed the crime. “They had slowed down near the auto so that the pillion rider could take the bag. It was unfortunate that they were not caught beforehand for violating traffic norms. We generally have traffic personnel stationed in the area but they were not there on Saturday,” she said.
The DCP added, “We have recovered the woman’s bag along with the cash, wrist watch, two mobile phones and most of the documents which were in it. We have also recovered the scooter used to carry out the crime.”