Eight members of a gang were arrested for allegedly picking pockets and stealing cash and valuables of devotees during the Lalbaugcha Raja immersion procession, police said on Friday. Lalbaugcha Raja, possibly the metropolis' most famous Ganpati mandal, moves for immersion through bylanes of much of central and south Mumbai over several hours.
This year, the procession started on Thursday evening and reached Girgaum Chowpatty past 9am on Friday. "Acting on a tip-off, Unit VI of the Crime Branch intercepted an SUV near Lotus junction at Shivajinagar in Chembur. The occupants were going to Beed," an official said.
A search of the vehicle netted broken gold chains and cash, which the occupants admitted they had stolen during the Lalbaugcha Raja immersion procession on Thursday, the official added. "We informed Kalachowki police station about the nabbing of these persons. By then, the police station had already received several complaints of theft, chain snatching etc from devotees who took part in the procession," he said.
Unit VI Senior Inspector Deepak Chavan said the gang targetted crowded events like political rallies or religious processions. "A diary found from one of the accused has a mention of a rally to be held by a minister in Beed district. Schedule of events like Kalubai procession in Satara, which is held in December, is also there in the diary," Chavan said..
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