By Maxwell Pereira
Shaktivel of Ramji Nagar in Tiruchirapally of Tamil Nadu enjoys
a Rohid Hood image. Married with two children, his father Chandran’s
funeral in Madurai in April 2004 reflected their clout in the
area. Referred to as ‘Aiyya’ the villagers respect
Shaktivel for his generosity and helpful nature. Living in lavish
style and changing vehicles often, his two bungalows in Trichy,
and a many acre’d farm in Ramjinagar, sport large gardens
and a swimming pool. No one knows though his source of income.
Surprisingly, the properties are not in his name, nor is any bank
account traceable to him. In the face of extreme reluctance and
resistance on the part of locals to part with any information,
Shaktivel remains an enigma for those who want to investigate
a year ago, the New Delhi District police cracked down on a Tamilian
gang of criminals. Considered among the most elusive, the first
two of these were actually nabbed by public while in the act of
trying to steal Rs.10 Lakhs from Global Bank in Connaught Place.
The police did an excellent follow up by swiftly rounding up 15
more of this gang from hideouts in Teesra Pushta of Usmanpur in
North East Delhi, before they could fly their hole.
interrogation revealed them to be from Ramji Nagar, their modus
operandi for crime and disposing off property unique. Arriving
in groups of 10-20 with a leader who travelled in luxury –
AC coach or by air, with definite work charter, each member assigned
a specific task. Adults concentrating on actual commission, with
juveniles for recce, as sentinels for look out, and when necessary
to divert attention for quick getaway. Normally with a cook and
a washerman too, to hold fort and be self sufficient. Leader always
moved and stayed separate.
in robbing cash from potential victims in and around banks –
while on their way to deposit money or while returning after withrawing
large sums, members of this gang avoid violence. Instead, concentrate
on their ability to con individuals by diverting attention, or
by just snatching and running with the booty catching the victm
off-guard. Divested of cash contents, briefcases/ papers/ purse/
bags or wallets to be discarded in running trains.
conceal identity and place of origin, never on their person or
baggage, any mark of identity; destroying even travel tickets
and STD receipts. If caught, a fake name and parentage and an
address unverifiably far removed from their own.
their pockets an indigenous powder of an irritant that caused
sneezing and watering of the eyes – to immobilise policemen
or other public. This their only distinguishing feature. Sometimes
a picture of Sai-Baba or Lord Tirupati too. They avoid stealing
mobile phones, considering the item too small a reward for their
effort. Their own mobiles, yes – preferably Reliance, purchased
through fictitious name and address.
to divert attention – by deliberately dropping/ scattering
new currency notes and innocently suggesting to the victim perhaps
he has dropped his money. Or by one of the juveniles knocking
on the driver’s window to engage attention, to facilitate
another operator to vanish with the bag/ briefcase from the co-driver’s
or rear seat.
banks and places of cash transaction, the recee party observe
features peculiar – number of people in the shift, lean
period, accesses – front, rear or side entries, location
of the guard… and assess possibilty to remove cash and escape
without getting noticed. Then discuss with the leader the modalities
for executing, always preferring to steal without attracting attention
or arousing suspicion. So deft in their expertise, that in one
case they bagged 15 lacs from Standard Chartered Bank kept at
the cashiers’ desk. Neither the cashier nor others could
figure out when and how the money vanished, till the police contacted
them. It was only then they learnt their money was in-fact stolen.
not able to execute a silent job, they resort to an elaborate
exercise of engaging people in conversation. Likewise picking
bags and briefcases from cars at market places, when a victim
parks his car and is busy paying the parking attendant. They are
experts too at opening car window glasses without causing damage.
every operation, entire loot handed over to the leader, who will
assign one member to carry it to home base and deposit in a designated
bank account. Of a small booty, leader keeps 60% and distributes
rest – 10,000/- to the one who lifted the bag, 3,000/- to
his main accomplice, lesser amounts to others. Each using the
money order route to send it to family, not more than 5000/- from
one post office. Loot more than 10 lacs, taken by gang leader
by air to deliver to the village Headman. ICICI, the prefered
bank for all, being operable for deposit and withdrawal from any
centre/ counter in the country.
the event of capture, rest to abandon hide out – not necessarily
to leave city, but continue to operate almost without a gap. Constrained
to leave town on apprehension of an important member, depart to
a pre-determined destination, never straight back home. A lady
lawyer on regular retainer in Delhi with her ‘munshi’
husband, to handle all legal backup, at times providing shelter
and conduit for disposing looted cash.
Delhi police could identify two gangs from Ramji Nagar. One with
37 members under Kumaran @ Ravi Kumar – most arrested. The
other 45 strong led by Shakthivel, none arrested. All efforts
to nab Shaktivel in the past one year have proved nix, despite
court warrants et al. To what extent the Income Tax authorities
and Tamil Nadu police are interested in the matter, is not known.
Till Shaktivel’s arrest, Delhi will continue to be bled!
words: 19 .04.2005: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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