New Delhi, Dec. 16: The boy turns 18 next week — and the cops are waiting.
Then they hope to put him away in Tihar for some time.
Pappu (name changed) has been a headache for Delhi police. The cop-hater boy, part of a gang the police say has been involved in at least 200 incidents of theft and arson, mostly in homes of police officials, burns police uniforms after every burglary before slipping away with his gang of minors.
Most of the gang members had been caught and sent to juvenile homes but managed to flee every time.
Pappus latest escape was in last May when he fled with 35 other boys, all members of his gang now.
Every time he flees a home, he takes with him different sets of boys. So his gang members keep changing and they are all minors. So even if they are caught, they cannot be put in jail, said a police source.
Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, the police cannot arrest boys below 18. Offenders can only be sent to observation homes.Our informers tell us this boy targets the home of security officials as he blames them for ruining his life. The only way we can stop him is by sending him to Tihar jail. His file says he will turn 18 next Tuesday (December 22). We know the areas he frequents and have positioned our informers. This time when we catch him, we will put him away for some time.
Sources said Pappu spoke about his aversion for the men in uniform several times during his stay at the observation homes and hinted that his family has borne the burnt of police atrocity more than once. But its not clear what actually turned him into a cop-hater.
When he was caught in March this year, Pappu had said he would strike again. He kept his word after his escape two months later. In September, he burgled the house of a police officer — and burnt the officers uniforms.
His gang broke into the house of a CBI official in Kidwai Nagar in south Delhi. After cleaning up the cash and valuables, the gang set the house on fire.
The CBI official, Devanand Keswan, had gone to see his mother and decided to stay the night at her place. In the morning, he got a call from a neighbour who told him his house was on fire.
Keswan rushed back to find a part of his house in flames and cash and valuables, including wristwatches and camera, missing.
The burglars had entered by breaking open a window and before leaving turned on the gas cylinders to light the fire. Firefighters had to be rushed to douse the flames.
Pappu isnt the only boy tormenting the cops. Bittu (name changed) is just 10, but is already a master thief.
Kidnapped and trained by a gang for two years, he has turned into a moneymaking machine for his handlers, often earning nearly a lakh a day.
The boy has been sent to juvenile homes more than once, but every time his gang has got him out. However, his gang leader, a proclaimed offender, has been arrested.
Another gang, whose members are all below 10, robs drivers on highways. The gang, which includes several girls, was caught and sent to juvenile homes last year.
When members of an organisation went to the homes this year to enquire about the kids, they were told relatives had taken away some of them.
Today, the kids are back on the highways, robbing travellers.