Hazaribagh, Sept. 14: A gang of nine minors that was involved in at least 12 robberies in the past 20 days in and around Hazaribagh town was arrested today.
Police said that the children — all rag-pickers in the age group of 10 to 14 — are adhesive addicts and robbed to get money for buying whiteners. Hazaribagh superintendent of police Pankaj Kamboj said that interrogation was on and they hoped to stumble on more revelations.
The arrested have been identified as Ajay Kumar Karmali, Sonu Ram, Md Rehan, Vivek Kumar, Sheru, Ranjeet Kumar, Suresh alias Kana, Tauhid and Ravi Kumar. Rajneet (12) is the leader of the gang. Sources said that acting on a tip-off, the police first rounded up three gang members. The other arrests followed. Police have recovered three mobile phones and a bicycle from their possession.
The nine children hail from extremely poor families living in nearby villages and used to steal at night. Explaining their modus operandi, Kamboj said: “Ranjeet told us that they used to eat adhesives before going to pick rags every morning. In the evenings, they would assemble at a place and then search for houses and shops. They would sneak in through the ventilators.”
Sonu Ram told the police that a few days ago, they had stolen Rs 2,000 from a food kiosk near Jhanda Chowk. They also looted a battery shop near District More. “Recently, they had run away with a bicycle from Korrah Chowk and sold it to a vendor for Rs 300 only. In fact, when they were brought to the Sadar police station, all of them had whiteners in their hands that they started drinking,” the SP added.
In another incident, the police arrested two youths from Vishnugarh for extorting money from a truck driver. The arrested are as Rishi Kumar and Sanjay Kumar. Rishi, impersonating as the deputy superintendent of police (mobile), was taking money from the driver when a police team caught him.
After Singh complained, the police arrested the two. A car was recovered from them. Singh registered an FIR, accusing Rishi of demanding Rs 20,000 from him.