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Elliot Park snatcher held

A youth has been arrested in Beniapukur on charges of snatching a gold chain from a woman on her daily walk with her husband at Elliot Park on June 14 morning.

Police said Mohammad Zafar, picked up from his North Range Road home, had an associate named Mohammad Nazeem, who has been arrested, too. A part of Veena Kapoor’s gold chain has been recovered, said an officer.

“During interrogation, Zafar gave us the name of his associate Mohammad Nazeem, who was outside the park to keep an eye on cops,” said Pallab Kanti Ghosh, joint commissioner of police (crime).

The police said 22-year-old Zafar had kept most of the gold chain with him and given the rest to Nazeem.

The duo apparently told the cops during interrogation that they were loitering in the Maidan area on June 14 morning with the intention of robbing walkers.

“They spent half an hour at Victoria Memorial but didn’t get a chance to snatch any valuable. From there, they went to Elliot Park,” said Ghosh. “Zafar confessed that he had followed Veena Kapoor and her husband for a few minutes before snatching the lady’s chain. They said they had targeted the Kapoors because the couple were in their 60s and looked vulnerable.”

After snatching the chain, they allegedly ran towards JL Nehru Road and boarded a running bus headed for the Park Circus seven-point crossing.

“After reaching Beniapukur, Zafar tore the chain and gave Nazeem a small portion of it. We have traced a goldsmith whom Zafar approached for selling a part of the chain. The man’s statement will help us nail the accused,” said an officer of the detective department.

Veena’s businessman husband Dilip Kapoor had chased the snatcher and approached a policeman within two minutes of the incident, pointing out to him the route the snatcher had taken to flee.

The couple then went to Hastings police station to lodge a complaint, as told by a cop in front of MP Birla Planetarium. The Hastings police asked them to go to Maidan police station as Elliot Park was under the latter’s jurisdiction.

“The chain was gifted to me by my mother-in-law and I had been wearing it for at least 25 years. The way the chain was snatched and the snatcher fled in broad daylight was shocking,” said Veena.

The couple expressed happiness on hearing news of the arrests. “If the police want, they can do anything. I will consider myself lucky if I get back the chain.”

The couple drive to Elliot Park every morning for a walk. After the snatching, six to eight cops are deployed at the park everyday. “The presence of the cops makes the walkers feel safe.”