A loan of Rs 7 lakh was too much for wig trader Rakesh Kumar. His competitor, Jahangir Hussain, meanwhile had a loan of Rs 12 lakh, which he took before a recent visit to Tirupati to stock up 150 kg of wigs. With sales low and desperation setting in, Rakesh saw an opportunity when he found that Hussain had a good stock of ‘weft extensions’ — superior quality wigs that fetch anywhere between Rs 25,000-40,000 per wig in the market.
On July 27, Rakesh and six others barged into Hussain’s shop and, within 20 minutes, fled with more than 200 kg of wigs worth about Rs 60 lakh after tying up the owner and his brother Tajuddin. They also made away with the CCTV footage.
Over the next week, they went looking for buyers in Punjab and Delhi to make some quick cash off the stolen wigs.
However, a four-member police team conducted raids in Ludhiana and Delhi, because of which the accused were forced to abandon the search for a buyer.
Eventually, police managed to arrest two persons for the robbery — Rakesh, a resident of Sultanpuri, and his accomplice Mangal Saini, who was traced using call detail record analysis from Rampur, UP.
Police have so far managed to recover 118 kg of wigs. “The accused are being questioned to find the remaining wigs,” said DCP (outer) Seju P Kuruvilla.
Police have recovered a country-made pistol and two live cartridges from the accused, while the wigs were recovered from a godown in Ganesh Nagar.
According to police, the accused had entered the shop under the pretext of buying bulk ‘Remi hair’ — which is raw in nature and is then processed using machines — for Rs 33 lakh. The accused had conducted a recce a day before the robbery.
“The accused had good knowledge of wigs and had negotiated the purchase with a
Rs 10,000 discount. There are around 15 wig-making shops in Delhi and since Jahangir’s was isolated, the accused targeted him,” Kuruvilla said.
Even with police cracking the case, Jahangir has to wait for the wigs to reach him as they have been kept as evidence. He said work at his shop is at a standstill, and he does not have enough money to pay four workers and a tailor. “I am going to sell some of my land in Assam to recover the cost till I get the wigs back,” Jahangir said.