Wednesday 24 Apr 2024

This is how Valpoi lawyer went about theft in court



It was a fool-proof plan to buy a car and an apartment, and criminal lawyer Mujahid Shaikh almost succeeded in it. 

He hid in the toilet for over an hour, masked his face to avoid getting exposed to CCTV cameras and exited the Court premises in the dark. But the two-wheeler used for escape by the Valpoi resident and a surveillance camera clearly focusing on the bike's number plate landed him in the police net within 24 hours of the crime. 

Shaikh has been practicing law in four States -- Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh -- but the theft of muddemal property comprising of cash and gold brought him to limelight, though on the negative side. 

"He walked into the Court building around 5 pm on Tuesday, sat for a case hearing and when it was the time for the proceedings to end half an hour later, he went to the toilet where he remained in hiding till the main door was locked by the guards," an official, closely monitoring the investigation told The Goan. The alleged accused does not practice in this Court but chose for the theft. 

Sources said that around 7:30 pm, Shaikh -- covered with a face mask -- walked up the stairs to the first floor where the Nazir Room (Evidence Room) is located. CCTV cameras, which were fortunately functional but with little clarity, caught him picking the door keys hanging onto a wall-mounted key holder. 

"He goes into the room to loot the valuables kept in the almirah. With the help of the burglary tools he was carrying in his shoulder bag, he broke open the almirahs. He collected the cash, segregated the demonetised and the new currency notes and laid his hands on the seized gold ornaments as well," the source stated. 

The torch flashing in his face is captured by the surveillance cameras, another evidence to prove his guilt in Court. 

It is also learnt that Shaikh threw the bag containing the tool, torch and now the stolen property of the Court, from the first floor's window near his bike, which was parked around the building that remained out of the sight of security guards. 

With security personnel missing from duty, the accused conveniently used the Court office on the rear side of the building to walk out without any force. "He unbolted the door which is located just next to the canteen and leaves the premises along with the booty around 9:30 pm," the source added. 

Knowing the CCTV would capture his movement, the accused used different routes to mislead the police. It is further learnt that he covered nearly all the main routes of Panaji to finally take the Bambolim route and later Valpoi. 

While the police faced a challenging task to identify the masked man and the bike, one of the cameras came to the rescue of the investigation team. "The bike number was spotted, and through this, we got the details of the owner of the bike. He was arrested," the official said. 

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