Vadodara: Whenever the notorious Sikhligar gang strikes in the city, there is one cop whose phone is constantly ringing. Head constable Arvind Thorat swings into action within minutes. He doesn’t just get information about the persons involved but also helps in tracking down the burglars.
Posted at special operations group (SOG) in the city for last one-and-half years, Thorat is considered an encyclopedia on the Sikhligar gangs across the state. In fact, the Mumbai crime branch too seeks his help sometimes to track down the gangs. “I had the habit of getting minutest details of gangs involved in thefts and burglaries when I was posted in the police stations here. I began working on Sikhligar gangs about 15 years ago when I was in the crime branch. It was bit tough as these gangs operate covertly and not many outside their community know about their whereabouts,” 49-year-old Thorat told TOI.
He developed the network by attending festivals, traditional ceremonies and festivals of Sikhligar communities in different areas of the city. “I often sent gifts during family functions and also helped needy persons in their community. It helped me develop a bond with them and win trust of many in the community,” Thorat, who joined police department in 1988, said. Thorat then began building an intelligence network that helped the police department in cracking many burglary and theft cases across the state.
In fact, such is his network that Thorat, known as ‘Arvindmama’ in Sikhligar gangs, sometimes get information before the gang commits the crime.
“A Sikhligar gang had committed burglary in Gorwa and then opened fire on the cops in 2014. I had got information about those involved and was helping pursue the case. Some from the gang offered me a bribe too for not investigating the case further but I warded them off and finally tracked down the gang,” Thorat added.
The city has about 12 different Sikhligar gangs that operate from areas like Warasia, Dabhoi Road and Ranoli. The police department had even published a book carrying details of the Sikhligar gangs across the state last year and Thorat had made a major contribution in it. The police said that most from the community take to casual labour or lock repairing for making a living.
Manoj Sashidhar, police commissioner, said, “Having such cops who are specialist in certain gangs helps us in cracking the case swiftly as they know the the modus operandi and whereabouts of the accused. We also ask such policemen to train others in gathering information and networking.”
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