"Children from villages are leased out to gangs by their parents."
The Delhi Police has arrested seven members, including two juveniles, of a gang named “Band Baaja Baraat”.
The accused attended big fat weddings in the city uninvited and indulged in theft, officials stated on December 4, 2020.
The gang allegedly used juveniles to steal at wedding ceremonies and trained them not to divulge names of other members if caught.
During the wedding season, the gang would visit Delhi and various other cities in north India to commit theft at wedding venues.
The police said the gang also “leased” children of villagers on a one year contract at Rs 10 to 12 lakh (£10,000-12,000), and used them to steal at these venues.
Five members of the gang were arrested while two juveniles were apprehended on December 2, 2020, while they were leaving Delhi.
The gang members hail from a small village named Gulkheri in Rajgarh district of Madhya Pradesh.
Police said a probe was initiated after a lot of incidents were reported about a specific gang committing thefts at wedding venues.
The officer in charge of the arrest Shibesh Singh, Additional Commissioner of Police stated:
“As part of the investigation, we formed a team which analysed all the available video footage of the wedding ceremonies where thefts had taken place.
“We also deployed informers at prominent banquet halls, farmhouses and other venues to gather intelligence about the suspects.
“It was revealed from the video footage that the suspects, before committing theft, spent considerable time at the venues.
“They made themselves comfortable and familiar with the guests.
“They dressed well, mingled with guests, had their dinner there and patiently waited for the opportune time to strike.
“In a swift move, they stole the gift bags containing jewellery and cash and thereafter quickly vanished from the venue.”
During interrogation, the accused disclosed that in their villages, children between the ages of 9-15 years are ‘leased’ to gangs like theirs.
The officer disclosed that:
“Children from villages are leased out to gangs by their parents.
“Once they are brought to Delhi and they are trained for a month on how to commit thefts at weddings and how to mingle with the people at the venue.
“They are told not to divulge their identity and that of their gang members in case they are caught.”
The arrested accused have been identified as Sandeep aged 26, Hansraj aged 21, Sant Kumar aged 32, Kishan aged 22 and Bishal aged 20.
Police claimed that with the arrest of the five accused, eight cases of theft at wedding venues have been solved.
Around Rs4 lakhs (£4,000) in cash, jewellery and mobile phones have been recovered.