A spate of robberies at gunpoint since May-end that had left parts of the city terrified and police red-faced were solved with the arrest of two men late Monday night. The kingpin of the group, however, remains at large.
So far, police have attributed at least 22 robberies to the gang’s leader, 23-year-old Burhan Ahmed, though the figure is expected to be higher. Among key cases the accused were allegedly involved in was one in Model Town, where a man was robbed at gunpoint as his wife and children watched from inside their car. While fleeing, the accused had exchanged fire with police. Days later, the men allegedly robbed a 24×7 medical store in New Friends Colony of Rs 1.2 lakh — again at gunpoint.
The men usually covered their faces with a cloth or helmets.“Footage from these crimes was shared with police informers and one of them approached officers in the North East district. He told them he had identified one of the men, Safan Abbas (23), with the help of CCTV footage, based on his manner of walking and clothing,” an officer said.
On Monday night, two teams of the Delhi Police, including the Special Cell, reached Loni Road after receiving a tip-off. Following a brief scuffle, the North East district’s operations team nabbed Safan and Chand Gaffar (22), who were on their way to meet associates in Jyoti Nagar.
According to police, the wives of Burhan and Safan are sisters, and the families lived together on rent in North East Delhi. Both men had been arrested in March in connection with a robbery case, and had got out on bail in the third week of May — shortly before the robberies began. In March, too, it was CCTV footage that had led to the arrests.
“Chand and Safan were arrested by a team led by inspector Vinay Yadav. During questioning, they disclosed the names of other gang members, and raids are being conducted to arrest them. They would operate during the night,” said DCP (North East) Atul Kumar Thakur.
“During the day, Safan works in a bakery while Chand is a tailor. They committed the robberies to make easy money,” Thakur said.
Police said that after being released on bail in May, Burhan formed a gang and recruited Safan. “They would leave their homes by 11 pm and take an autorickshaw to meet at an isolated place. They first targeted people with two-wheelers and then took the vehicles to go on a robbery spree. They would dump the vehicles afterwards, and take an autorickshaw to reach home. They started out in North West district but as police presence there was strengthened, they shifted to South East Delhi,” a senior officer said.