Officers Still Want Separate Law That Makes It A More Serious OffenceSidharth.Bhardwaj@timesgroup.com
To check the increasing incidents of snatching in the capital, Delhi Police has created a new database of men who runs gangs involved in this crime and are booking them under MCOCA, the law enacted by Maharashtra to deal with organised crime.
Last year, Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik had directed the creation of the database of members of organised snatching gangs who were nabbed but out on bail. DCP northeast Atul Kumar Thakur said the list had been created and was being expanded.
Sections 3 and 4 of MCOCA were recently invoked against Rashid Khan, 33, aka Shibu, by the Khajuri Khas police station in northeast Delhi, while Rinku, 35, alias Chholan, was similarly booked by Gokulpuri police station in the same district. Investigating officers said the pair ticked all the provisions required to be charged under the stringent Act with both being gang leaders actively involved in snatching, robberies and heinous crimes.
Khan, who came to Delhi in 2000 and began as a cycle mechanic, is so far involved in more than 25 cases ranging from snatching to attempt to murder. After initially working with local criminals active in northeast Delhi and the adjoining areas of Uttar Pradesh, Khan, a father of six, formed his own gang with his six brothers. Cops said the gang is bigger now. Investigations have unearthed the fact that Khan has as many as eight properties in Loni, including flats in housing complexes. Police suspect the gang of also running an extortion racket, targeting builders in particular.
Rinku is reported to be involved in more than 30 crimes across Delhi-NCR, including two murders and several cases of snatching and armed robberies. The investigators discovered that he now owns at least five properties. He is believed to have recently joined forces with another active Trans-Yamuna gangster to form an organised syndicate.
TOI has highlighted in earlier reports how the current legal provisions for easy bail thwart police from cracking down on snatchers. Delhi Police currently books snatchers under Section 379 of the Indian Penal Code for theft and Section 356 for assault or criminal force during theft.
Despite the creation of the database and the invocation of MCOCA, the cops in the capital continue to maintain that a better alternative is a new law — like the Sub-Sections A and B that Haryana has incorporated in the Section 379 of IPC dealing with punishment for theft — that makes snatching a more serious offence.
In 2014, Haryana made the criminal act a non-bailable offence punishable by up to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment. The law in Haryana now specifically defines a snatcher as “whoever with the intention to commit theft suddenly or quickly or forcibly seizes or secures or grabs or takes away from any person or from his possession any moveable property and makes attempts to escape with such property”.