The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Felon parades friend as boss

Vishal Agarwal, 23-year-old employee of a private firm that exports leather, presented his 21-year-old accomplice as his employer while lodging a complaint of robbery. But the employer's carefree attitude — even after losing Rs 37,000 — made the police think twice about the veracity of the complaint. They interrogated the youth through Thursday night and found the complaint to be false.

After the night-long interrogation, Vishal broke down on Friday and confessed to officials of Hare Street police station that he, along with accomplice Bhabhik Lakhani, played out a self-written drama to grab the money. Both were arrested and remanded in police custody till May 17, when they will be produced in court.

“It’s not an isolated incident. We’ve cracked at least 10 similar false complaints in the recent past. So, as soon as Vishal came to the police station and narrated his story, officials smelt something amiss,” said Zulfiquar Hasan, deputy commissioner of police (central).

Hare Street police station officer-in-charge (OC) D.P. Bhattacharya said Vishal had come to the thana at 6 pm. “He told us three youths had snatched the money from him at gun-point. I advised him to give us a detailed description of the incident,” said Bhattacharya.

According to Vishal’s statement, the snatching took place while he was returning to his office after collecting Rs 37,000 from clients. “Three youths in a taxi picked me up from the Rabindra Sarani-Canning Street intersection. They were toting revolvers. They took me to Eden Hospital Road. On the way, they snatched the money, my watch and rings,” Vishal claimed.

After receiving the complaint, the police told him to call up his employer. Instead of using the police station telephone, he left OC Bhattacharya's room. “He returned an hour later with a 21-year-old youth, who identified himself as Bhabhik Lakhani and pretended to be Vishal’s employer,” said Bhattacharya.

Bhabhik’s behaviour was surprising. “There was no anxiety in him. Instead of demanding a probe, he said: ‘Chhor dijiye. Mera rupiya to chala gaya. Kabhi kabhi aisa hota hai. Isme Vishal ka koi kasoor nahin (Forget it. I have lost my money. Sometimes it happens and Vishal is not to blame for it)’,” said OC Bhattacharya.

Bhabhik was allowed to leave but Vishal was detained. He broke down in the morning and confessed. The cops then raided Bhabhik’s Girish Park residence and recovered the booty.

The owner of the firm is a friend of Vishal’s father. Bhabhik was also a colleague, but he was sacked a month ago.

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