Tinsukia. In yet another case of theft at the workplace, Tinsukia police have arrested two employees of a hardware shop for allegedly stealing goods worth lakhs of rupees and selling them to a scrap dealer at Makum Road in the town.

The police have seized 1,394 kilograms of galvanised wire worth Rs 1.3 lakh from the scrapyard, situated around 300 metres from the victim’s godown.

The arrested persons have been identified as Jonathan Hans, godown caretaker, and Rajendra Varma, driver of the victim, while the scrap dealer Ajay Jaiswal had been absconding, police said.

The development comes days after a prominent businessman Ashish Sureka was arrested by Tinsukia police on charges of purchasing stolen goods. Three employees – two working at the victim’s place and one at the accused place – allegedly involved in the theft were also arrested.

“Since we keep a huge stock of galvanized wire, such act of theft went unnoticed over the past one-and-a-half years. During stock reconciliation at the financial year ending, our stock showed a shortage of around 35,000 kgs of galvanized wire worth over Rs 25 lakh,” Samarth Agarwal, son of the owner of Assam Industrial Stores said.

“Initially, I thought that there was some error from my end. But, only recently we came to know that our employees were indulged in such acts of theft behind our back,” he said.

“They were stealing in small quantities every day over the past several months and selling it to the scrap dealer at giveaway prices. We trusted them just like our family members and never let them feel that they are employees. But, what they did to us is still unbelievable and unthinkable,” Agarwal said.

Narrating their modus operandi, Agarwal said, “The caretaker used to take the keys of the godown, adjacent to my residence, in the morning to prepare for the day’s work. He used to load one to two bundles of galvanized wire in the cabin of our commercial pickup van adjacent to the driver’s seat and later park it outside the compound of our godown. While loading the wires inside the godown premises, he used to park the pick-up van in such a manner that it is not captured in the CCTV camera.”

A bundle of galvanized wire of 8 to 12 mm thickness ranges from 100 to 180 kg in weight and is sold in kilograms.

“Half an hour later my driver Varma used to come and silently drive the vehicle to the scrap dealer and unload the materials and would be back within five minutes. The day we received this information from a well-wisher, we got alerted, and the next day we saw the entire thing happening with our eyes. The same has been captured in the camera,” Agarwal said.

Agarwal said, “We intimated the police beforehand and reached the scrapyard and caught the driver redhanded. We witnessed a huge quantity of fresh TMT rods, overhead electric cables used by Assam State Electricity Board (ASEB) and new batteries among others. These new goods, prima facie, has no business to do with a scrap dealer unless they are stolen goods.”

“We demand that police bust the entire racket of people who are purchasing the stolen goods and recovery of my stolen goods,” he added.

Agarwal has also named the wife of the caretaker, Swagata Hans, who stayed at the compound of the victim, for her alleged involvement in the entire incident.

Paragjyoti Buragohain, officer-in-charge of Tinsukia police station, said, “Police has registered a case and arrested the two employees involved in theft, besides launching a manhunt for the scrapyard owner Ajay Jaiswal. “This is a serious offence and we shall try to identify every person linked to this nexus and send them to jail,” he said.

Buragohain said that purchasing stolen property is a crime. “Hence, all businessmen should resist themselves from indulging in such criminal act and ensure that they purchase goods with a valid bill and inform police of any suspicious activities.”

“We have seized 1394 kilograms of galvanized wire from the scrap dealer and the vehicle (AS 23 CC 3215) of the victim,” Riaz Ali, investigating officer told EastMojo.

Police have registered a case under sections 381, 411 and 120 (B) of the Indian Penal Code.

Sources said, “This is an open secret that many scrap dealers, knowing theft being committed, join hands with various thieves and employees of shops and indulge in purchasing stolen goods. They hardly have any documents related to the purchases made by them.”

“It’s high time, the district administration, police and GST department should verify the antecedents, documents, stock, taxes paid, etc of all scrap dealers in their jurisdiction to put an end to this menace,” sources said.

Also read: Assam PHED Minister reviews Jal Jeevan Mission progress

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