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‘They keep refusing to register an FIR’

Last updated on January 11, 2019

I am handling a recent mobile theft case on behalf of my friend Mohit Kumar Gupta. He was taking a Metro from the Huda City Centre Metro station on the evening of December 26 around 5.40 pm. The platform was overcrowded, as usual, because it was office hours. The moment the train approached the platform, two people came near him. One of them covered the other, and meanwhile the other man picked up Mohit’s phone from his trouser pockets.

When he found that his phone was missing, he went to the DMRC station and demanded to see the CCTV footages. From what he saw, it was clear that it was not the act of one – but rather a coordinated theft by two or more. Then he went to PS Metro, located at IFFCO chowk. He made a written complaint about the theft. At that time the police did not register an FIR. But they only gave a verbal assurance that they will be looking into the matter. They said that appropriate action will be taken soon.

On the same day, Mohit wrote a seven-page long detailed complaint and mailed it to the SHO, Commissioner and other officers with the request to register an FIR. The next day, I personally went to PS Metro with a physical copy of the same detailed complaint which they did not accept stating that a constable has no power to accept it. Only the officer-in-charge can accept and acknowledge the complaint, they said.

Then till January 2, I called the SHO number of times, requesting her to register the FIR. But she kept on delaying on one frivolous ground or the other. Once she said she is busy with her meetings, the other time she said her IO is on leave. I was continuously calling her every day. For 2-3 days, she entertained my calls, after that she stopped taking them. Then I called her from a different number, she said she is busy with New Year celebration arrangements. She even asked me to stop calling her. But I did not.

I told her that the CCTV footages have a shelf life and it will be wiped out. If these CCTV footages are not saved, then after seven days it automatically gets cleared. So, I asked her, ‘how will we identify the thieves then?’ I was requesting her to go to the DMRC security unit and ask them to save the footage of that particular incident, as it will enable them to catch the thief.
She said that she has all the means to get the footage recovered even after seven days, which I personally do not believe because so many Metros are running and a lot of data is being stored daily. And moreover, it is not possible to store data of an entire day’s footage. She also said, ‘investigation is our job, not yours. Stop irritating me. I have other things to do. I will get your FIR registered.’

After that I called the ACP and DCP, but no one answered. I wrote them a detailed message in WhatsApp. They saw it but did not respond. Nobody acknowledged my complaint over the text. A colleague of mine also called the DCP, but she just received a verbal assurance that the DCP will direct the SHO to register a complaint. But nothing happened so far. The FIR has not been registered till date.

In fact, I told them that the phone contains highly privileged legal data and it has many important legal files stored in it, which contains matter relating to public policy also. We requested them that the data is more important than the phone. So, that is why we are desperate to get the phone recovered. But all our efforts went in vain.
Narvinder Thakran is a Delhi-based lawyer

— As told to Shruti Das

Lost my phone worth Rs 40,000’

On December 10, at around 6.15 pm I was boarding a train from Huda City Centre Metro station. While boarding, there was too much crowd in the platform. At that time, a man stole my phone from the pocket. The moment I went inside the compartment and sat down, I realised my phone was not with me.

I told my co-passenger about it and requested him to give a call to my number. For about 15 minutes, my phone was switched off. Then I could not reach my number at all. I got down at IFFCO Chowk Metro station to lodge a complain with the police. They took my complaint but said that there is no chance of getting phone back in these cases. Moreover, they were saying I might have lost it somewhere else. This is how they tried to misguide me. Then they said they will try their best and sent me back.

Then again, I went to Huda City Centre Metro station to check the CCTV footages. It was showing a man, probably in his early 30s, taking out my phone. His face was clearly visible. But there the police were saying this will not be of any help and when the phone will be turned on, only then can they track it. They said they will inform me. But now it has been about a month, but I have not received any update from them. Since that day, I have visited that station 7-8 times. All they have to say is that ‘the phone cannot be tracked, but we have sent your number to the Cyber department, they will track once it’s switched on.’

I tried my best, have put all my efforts but nothing happened. I even went to other police stations to seek help. One of them even told me that they can bring my phone back if I pay them. Once, out of desperation, I even agreed and said I will do so if I get it back. But they could not.

On December 26, again I went to Huda City Centre regarding this. That day again they said that I should not hope to get it back. They told me, ‘Get a new phone.’ But still I requested and said that it costs Rs 40,000. It is not something easy for me. I had to save months of salaries to buy it. The same day I met two other people who have experienced the same thing I did, in a same manner. Then I realised it is not an ‘accident’ or one-time thing.

Rather, it is conducted regularly by a specific group, at a specific time and at the same spot. Moreover, the police are not taking an action. At least even if they cannot recover the lost phones, they must think of an action that needs to be taken to prevent such theft cases in the future.
Risabh Arora works at the Indian Railways

— As told to Shruti Das