Nicknamed 'Iranis', Mumbai criminal gangs now target Delhi

New Delhi/Mumbai Aug 26 (IANS) Gangs of Mumbai criminals, also known as 'Iranis', are posing as policemen in Delhi and adjoining areas in the National Capital Region and targeting women for gold and jewellery, Delhi Police officers say.

The gangs travel to Delhi by train bringing along their own motorcycles, which they ride - with fake registration number - while scouting for women victims in Delhi as well as Gurgaon and Faridabad in Haryana. Many of them are tall, fair and well built -- something that helps them pose as a genuine policemen more convincingly.

A Delhi Police officer told IANS that they tell unsuspecting women that they are from the Delhi Police Special Staff and gently advise the targets not to wear jewellery while on the streets.

In the meantime, one of their gang members, wearing a gold chain, walks by pretending to be a civilian.

The same advice is given to the man. He is asked to take off his chain and give it to them. This is put in a packet, which is returned to him. Seeing this, the woman follows suit. But in her case, the gang deftly replaces her gold jewellery with a fake -- which is thrust into the packet and returned to her.

By the time the women victims realise that they have been conned, the gang vanishes from the scene. In the past six months, eight such cases have been reported in Delhi and 30 in Faridabad and Gurgaon, both in Haryana.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Police B.S. Jaiswal, the 'Iranis' return to Mumbai after committing three or four such thefts.

MumbaiPolice told IANS that there were groups of criminals locally known as 'Iranis'. They claim to be descendants of Iranians who migrated to India a long time ago.

Police claim the 'Iranis' live mostly in Mumbai's Thane district. They speak Hindi well. Most keep to themselves and avoid the locals. "They are semi-literates or illiterates but seem to be very well off," a Mumbai police officer said.

According to police, the 'Iranis' specialise in committing crimes in other states. In and around Mumbai, they indulge in petty crime. At least three 'Iranis' are currently serving prison sentences.

Police in Thane, near Mumbai, say they were aware that the 'Iranis' are involved in crimes in places like Delhi and Bangalore.

A Delhi Police officer said the 'Iranis' travel even to Kolkata to target women.

In June, Delhi Police arrested four 'Iranis' who had robbed two women in Amar Colony in south Delhi.

"Their arrests and questioning revealed that they were also active in Kolkata and Faridabad," the officer added.

(Alok Singh and Quaid Najmi can be contacted at alok.s@ians.in and q.najmi@ians.in)

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