Nearly four months after six constables were suspended following 50 live cartridges of SLR rifles going missing from the police armoury at the Local Arms (LA) unit in Worli, the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Monday arrested one of the six for allegedly stealing them. Mahendra Patil (35), formerly attached to Kurla police station, is suspected to have stolen the ammunition from the armoury in December last year. It is believed that he got cold feet soon after and returned 50 cartridges, two empty charger clips and a bandroll to Dadar police station.
On Monday, Patil was produced in a local court and remanded in police custody till April 18. Based on preliminary probe, an FIR for theft had been registered at Worli police station on February 18. The matter was later handed over to the crime branch. “Earlier, we suspected Patil to have stolen the cartridges. When we enquired with the Kurla police, where he had been posted, it came to light that he had been behind bars after being arrested by the Jalgaon police in a cheating case. We then sought permission from the court to get his custody. He was produced in court,” a senior officer said.
The incident took place on December 11 last year when the ammunition went missing from the LA unit in Worli. Sanket Mali, one of the constables in charge of security there, usually tied the cartridges to a bandroll tucked to his belt. That night, he was allegedly unwell and kept the bandroll next to him. He, however, fell asleep and an hour later, he could not locate the ammunition. Next day, Patil approached Dadar police and handed over the ammunition. When asked how he procured the bullets, he claimed that he found the cartridges in a bus. Later, six constables and Patil were suspended and a preliminary enquiry was ordered.