Mumbai police arrested a 22-year-old priest for allegedly stealing a diamond encrusted crown from the idol of Lord Srinathji from a diamond trader’s residence. The police said the accused, identified as Harshal Arun Kumar Shah, had been conducting pujas and other ceremonies at the complainant’s residence since the last six months.
According to police officers, complainant Jignesh Nayan Parekh (41) is a resident of a housing society in Kandivali (west). He is a diamond trader and runs a shop in the diamond market at BKC, police said.
On February 3, the complainant had called Shah to perform a ceremony at his residence. However, after conducting the ritual, the priest allegedly stole the diamond-embedded crown from the idol and left the house, said police.
“As the complainant’s wife fell sick the next day, the incident went unnoticed for a couple of days, following which on February 7, the complainant realised that the crown was missing from the small temple that he had set up inside his residence,” said an officer.
The complainant had suspicion over the priest, police said.
Parekh then approached Kandivali police and got a case under Section 380 (theft) of the Indian penal Code registered against Shah.
“He had a suspicion on Shah as the complainant alleged that since February 4, nobody had entered his apartment… We contacted the priest and got him to the police station for inquiry,” said an investigator.
Following his confession, the accused was arrested last week. The police have recovered the crown worth Rs 1.25 lakh from his residence in Kandivali. He was produced in court and has been remanded in judicial custody.