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TMCNet:  Once crime's nursery, Madangir now its HQ [Delhi] [Times of India]

[August 09, 2014]

Once crime's nursery, Madangir now its HQ [Delhi] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: For the cops of south Delhi, Madangir is a hotspot for criminals. For many pickpockets, bag-lifters, bank robbers and extortionists-the resettlement colony in southeast Delhi is both home and workstation. Even the masterminds of the sensational Lajpat Nagar cash robbery in January this year lived in this colony teeming with the city's vast marginalized.


Police sources say Madangir is now the playing field of at least six organized gangs; each with around 20-30 men in their ranks. What makes them more disturbing, even sinister, is their regular use of teenagers for crime. "They are very organized. Before they are employed, the teenagers are screened by gang leaders. Many of them are on their payrolls. If someone goes to jail, the gang funds his bail, expenses in jail and also supports his family," says a police officer.

"Juveniles are preferred because they get lesser sentences. Most of them are not known to the police. That's because, as per law, the cops can't maintain their database," revealed a senior inspector formerly associated with southern range. Several teenagers find the opportunity attractive because they get cash, clout and identity in return.

Some of the alleged crimelords of Madangir are: Lajpat Nagar robbery kingpin Shakti Naidu, dossier holders Ravi Gangwal and Vijay Khatik, both controlling their operation from jail through juniors, Deva, allegedly the boss of Sachin who was brutally knifed in broad daylight on Wednesday, Shakil, Rohit, Yaqub and Sunny. Most teenagers involved in crime allegedly work for Gangwal, Naidu and Khatik.

The patterns of crime have changed over the years, says a well-informed inspector. "The crimes and the criminals in Madangir have evolved over the years. We had set up an office with special staff to control crime there. Along with Sangam Vihar and Dakshinpuri, it used to be the hub of pickpockets who operated in the DTC buses and controlled operations in south Delhi," he says.

With the arrival of buses with automatic doors, business dipped. Now pickpockets could not escape with ease after committing a crime. "Many of them graduated to crimes like robberies and snatching. Since several groups took to crime, the rivalry paved way for murders and gang wars," an officer said.

Some gang leaders then moved to real estate, including settling property disputes. The lower ranks started roping in juveniles and teenagers to execute the crimes and remain "rich and relevant". Jewellers dealing with stolen goods popped up in the area.

By now, several criminals had developed links with weapons suppliers from Meerut. Sources in the crime branch say, the gangs of Madangir even have a "weapon on phone" facility where they deliver arms to any part of the city after receiving an order on phone.

Cops also feel that the association of teenagers with criminal gangs is also closely linked to poverty, poor quality of education - TOI didn't find a single good school in the area - and lack of social awareness.

Often a twist of circumstance forces them to enter a life of crime. "Early last year, my daughter was being harassed by some youths on his way to school. When my elder son got to know, he asked them not to harass his sister but was thrashed. He later made friends with a local group and beat them up. But it did not stop there. He was arrested on July 31 last year under Arms Act and attempt to murder," says the father of a 19-year-old youth who was nabbed with two others by Ambedkar Nagar police for possessing several firearms and firing at cops.

The shopkeepers in the area are fed up of these gangs. "They have become a threat to traders. A large number of street vendors shell out money to put up there stalls. The criminals disappear when the police patrol comes here but are back once the cops are gone," said a member of a local traders' association.

Another trader, who did not wish to be named, says, "It was for a reason that people did not intervene when Sachin was being attacked. These fights have become everyday affairs. People are scared and want the police to crack whip on them." Residents and cops also point out that few Delhi Police's initiatives such as Yuva have been implemented in this locality. "If the police help in keeping the youths engaged, the residents can also find ways to help them. The situation might change then. Good schools, employment opportunities and strict patrolling are equally important," says a resident.

(c) 2014 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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