New Delhi: Three persons have been arrested in connection with the theft of Nobel replica and other valuables from Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi’s Kalkaji residence in southeast Delhi.
While the stolen items including the Nobel replica have been recovered, the citation that was stolen along with the replica has not been found yet.
The three accused brothers, Rajan alias Natta (25), Vinod (35) and Sunil (28), have had previous involvements in burglary and robbery cases.
While expressing hope that the citation will be recovered soon, child rights activist Satyarthi thanked Delhi Police for the “brilliant and speedy recovery” of the stolen items.
Delhi Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik also tweeted about the case being solved.
“Was greatly concerned about theft of Shri Satyarthi’s prestigious Nobel Medal replica. Proud that @DelhiPolice recovered it in quick time,” he tweeted.
Traditional policing played a big role in solving the case, said R P Upadhyay, joint commissioner of police (Southeast).
Citing the theft of Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize medal in 2004 from Visva Bharati University’s museum in Santiniketan, he said that the theft of Satyarthi’s Nobel replica was a “very important case” for them.
“For us, it was a case of national pride. 10 teams were working on the case and exploring different angles,” he added.
“In the CCTV footage that was recovered, two faces were muffled and one face was hazy and despite developing them, we didn’t have a clear picture of the accused,” he said.
Apart from technical surveillance, the cops also focused on record-based surveillance, he said.
The theft happened in the wee hours on February 7 and police was informed about the theft at Satyarthi’s flat in Aravali Apartments around 9 AM.
“When the police team reached the spot, the main door of the house was found broken. Rakesh Senger, who works with Satyarthi’s Bachpan Bachao Andolan, was the first to discover the theft.
“He told police that Satyarthi had gone to USA and the house was locked. The house was inspected by the crime team and the photographs of scene of crime were taken,” said DCP (southeast) Romil Baaniya.
Senger informed police that replica of Nobel Peace prize and citation had been stolen along with other expensive jewellery articles and other medals.
“During investigation, it was found that two other flats, that were also locked, were also burgled,” Baaniya added.
More than 50 people were identified following the analysis of burglaries with similar modus operandi in 2016-2017.
In the record, police found a similar modus operandi in a burglary case in the year 2016. Rajan (one of the accused) was arrested for a burglary in Shivalik Apartments in 2016.
“On the basis of the modus operandi adopted by accused persons, criminals of the local police station as well as from the nearby police stations were shortlisted and efforts were initiated for their verification and interrogation.
“During this exercise, out of other suspects, Rajan alias Natta, who had previous criminal history of burglaries in the area, came out as a strong suspect,” said the DCP.
Police began searching for Rajan and the police team came to know that he had changed three houses in Sangam Vihar in the last one week, which further strengthened the suspicion on him, he added.
Police also learnt that the three accused used to go to Ghaziabad at night to sleep.
“Police teams had started collecting information about Rajan and his associates. Several teams were constituted under the supervision of inspector Ved Prakash SHO (Kalkaji) and under the overall supervision of Amit Goel, ACP (Kalkaji),” said Baaniya.
Raids were conducted at different places and Rajan was apprehended from Sangam Vihar near Aggarwal Sweets and some of the stolen articles were recovered from his residence.
He further disclosed that he had committed the burglaries in Aravali Apartments along with his two brothers, Vinod alias Pinki and Sunil alias Sonu, who are residing in the other house at Sangam Vihar and rest of the stolen articles are with them including Nobel Prize replica.
Rajan’s elder brothers were arrested from their house in Sangam Vihar. The Nobel Prize replica along with other articles were recovered from their residence.
During interrogation, they told police that when they had carried out the burglary, they didn’t realise the value of the replica of Nobel prize but after watching it on TV, they realised it. Therefore, they couldn’t dispose it off.
The accused brothers are natives of Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh and were residing in the jhuggis near Aravali Apartments since their birth.
The jhuggis were removed in the year 2005-06 and they along with their family shifted to Sangam Vihar.
But they continued working in the same locality as labourers or painters. Hence, they were well aware of the topography of the area and they decided to commit the burglary in the same area.
While committing the burglary, they had used the passage from the empty land in front of Aravali Apartments, which is covered with the iron shed. They had bent the iron shed to make a passage to go through the vacant land.
They had jumped off from gate number 8 of the apartments that is closed during the night and is open during daytime.
The CCTV footage shows they entered around 1.07 am and were there till 3.53 am.
Sunil has eight, Vinod 10 and Rajan has six cases of burglary and robbery against them.
Satyarthi thanked Delhi Police and said, “I had complete faith in the government, the police and the people of this great nation. I thank the Delhi Police for the brilliant and speedy recovery of the items stolen from my residence and I hope that the Nobel citation is recovered soon as well.
Nothing can deter my mission to work towards my children.”
He said that he hopeful that the citation, that is one of the most invaluable items, is also recovered soon.
“My sense is that for the thieves, the citation was just a piece of paper and they might have thrown it somewhere,” he added.
Apart from replica of Nobel Prize, two laptops of Dell and Sony make, one Rado wristwatch, one Apple iPad, four imported branded pens, gifted to the Nobel laureate, two cameras, gold and silver jewellery and silverware have been recovered.
The child rights activist won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. He shared the prize with Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai.
Satyarthi had presented his Nobel Peace Prize medal to President Pranav Mukherjee in January, 2015. The original medal has been preserved and is now on display at the Rashtrapati Bhavan Museum, his office said.