Lure of money leads youngsters to join gangs

Young people from poor families are roped in by criminals to do their bidding

Deepak, 31, and Ajeet, 28, of Karan Pehalwan gang were arrested last week for kidnapping a property dealer at gunpoint from north-east Delhi’s Shahdara for a ransom of Rs 5 lakh.

The duo is an example of how youngsters are lured to join gangs to commit heinous crimes in the capital.

Deepak was born in Kabool Nagar in Shahdara, and went on to do an air-conditioner mechanic course from an industrial training institute in Vivek Vihar. After completing the course in 2000, he joined Samsung and later opened his own AC repair shop in Rohtas Nagar.

“He was, however, not doing well in the business and was in need of money, so he chose to earn by any means,” says Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime and Railways) Ravindra Singh Yadav.

During this period, Deepak came in contact with Brahampuri-resident Karan Pehalwan and Ajeet, who lives with his family in Baburpur.

According to another police officer, Ajeet never attended school due to his family’s financial condition. His father, who worked with the municipal corporation, passed away in 1995, after which his mother got the government job on compassionate grounds. The financial condition of the family, however, never improved.

“Ajeet learnt playing drums at the age of 13 and continued till he was 27,” the officer adds.

His confrontation with the law began in 2010 when he was arrested in a threat case filed with Shahdara police station. In 2012, he was again arrested in a case of attempt to murder, and a firearm was recovered from him.

“He started working in a meat shop in Bhola Nath Nagar this year, and then joined Karan Pehalwan gang to earn quick money,” the officer adds.

According to the gang’s plan, the two kidnapped property dealer Jaswinder Singh from Shahdara and demanded Rs 7 lakh. Singh was released after his brother made a payment of Rs 5 lakh. They, however, made the mistake of kidnapping a local person, due to which Deepak and Ajeet were arrested within days.

They told police that Karan Pehalwan wanted to extort money from property dealers. Pehalwan called Singh near Kharbanda Chowk, where he was waiting in a car along with Deepak and Ajeet. They pushed Singh into their car at gunpoint, and took him to Sonia Vihar. The gang then demanded Rs 7 lakh from Singh for his release, and forced him to call his brother, who arranged Rs 5 lakh and handed it over to Pehalwan. Singh was released the same day.

According to police data, 2,402 heinous cases were reported in 2012, which was over 10 per cent more than 2,171 cases reported in 2011. But Police claimed to have solved nearly 90 per cent of the cases. This included 21 cases of kidnapping for ransom in 2012 compared to 25 cases in 2011.

However, a senior police officer claims that most of the cases were not reported to police due to fear of the gangs.

Then there is the case of 26-year-old sharpshooter Paras of Netu Dabodia gang, who was arrested in March for his involvement in the killing of a Delhi Police head constable.

Years ago, in 2005, Paras got into a scuffle with MLA Bijendra Billo’s son Vikram over a cricket match. He beat up Vikram, and the MLA later handed him over to police. Though police took him to task, no case was filed against him then. He was released after his parents approached police. He anyway went on to join Netu Dabodia gang.

At the time of his arrest this year, he was wanted in over 20 cases, including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping-cum-murder, extortion, dacoity and robbery. He also has a history of attacking policemen and escaping from custody.

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