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Car theft to pay for child delivery

Suri, June 22: Driven to the wall by lack of means to pay for the delivery of his first child, a young man from Dhanbad allegedly stole a car in Bengal by posing as a policeman.

Arjun Singh, 26, a driver from Dhanbad’s Govindpur who earns around Rs 5,000 a month according to the police, was arrested in Birbhum last evening.

Arjun had approached a car rental agency at Niyamatpur in Asansol yesterday, identifying himself as a policeman. During interrogation, he told the police this was his first crime and he needed money for the delivery of his first child.

According to the driver of the Mahindra Scorpio Arjun had hired, the Dhanbad resident had identified himself as Biswajit Singh, a police officer.

“He came to us on Friday evening and told us that his name was Biswajit Singh and he was a police officer. He told us he wanted to visit Tarapith as a tourist. We believed him. He boarded the car in front of the Asansol police lines yesterday morning,” said Sanjay Varma, the driver of the Scorpio.

Arjun checked into a hotel in Tarapith and allegedly requested Sanjay to share a room with him.

“On reaching the room, he asked me to take a bath, following which we would have lunch together. When I entered the bathroom, he stole the keys from my trousers’ pocket and drove away with the car,” Sanjay said.

“When I came out of the bathroom, I found my trousers lying on the floor and the keys missing. I ran down and saw the car was no longer there,” he added.

Sanjay informed the police, who put up roadblocks and tracked Arjun’s mobile phone.

“We intercepted the SUV at Nalhati (in Birbhum) and arrested Arjun. During interrogation, he said he had planned the theft himself. He told us he was from Dhanbad and had married two years ago. His wife is pregnant and he wanted to admit her to a nursing home. He told us his wife has to undergo a Caesarean section and he needed a lot of money for that,” a police officer said.

Tubai Bhowmik, a sub-inspector of the Tarapith police outpost, said an acquaintance of Arjun in Malda, Zakir, had promised to give him Rs 20,000 if he could hand over the Scorpio to him in Murshidabad.

An officer who interrogated Arjun said the mode of theft was amateurish.

“We were surprised at the way he stole the car. Usually in case of car-jacking, the hijacker kills or injures the driver before fleeing with the vehicle. Arjun did not realise that the driver would inform the police so quickly. It appears Arjun did not know how to hijack a car,” the officer said.

The officer said Arjun had told the police that he was finding it difficult to make ends meet with his meagre income after his marriage.

“He became desperate after his wife became pregnant,” the officer added.

District police chief Alok Rajoria said: “We have arrested the man and taken him into custody. The matter is being investigated. We are trying to corroborate his statement.”

He police said Arjun had told them his wife’s expected delivery date was around two months away.