When cops came calling, Bunty Chor was watching his news on TV

Handed over to Kerala Police, to be produced in court today

Delhi's notorious thief Devinder Singh alias Bunty Chor, 41, was nabbed by the police on Saturday after he checked into a lodge in Mangalwar Peth area in Pune. The police said Singh was on his way back from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, where he had executed a heist in the house of an NRI businessman. When the police entered his lodge room, he was found watching a television news story about his latest act in Kerala.

Involved in over 500 burglaries across the country and arrested several times, his unique ways had inspired Bollywood to do a flick Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! in 2008. He has also featured in the television show Big Boss and has been on the run after his recent arrest by the Bhopal police and subsequent release on bail.

Additional Commissioner of Police Chandrashekhar Daithankar said, "Singh checked into the lodge at 2.45 am on Saturday. He was in a hurry to go to his room and did not take the remaining money back after he paid the advance. He wore a hat. The manager felt there was something suspicious about the man and informed the owner Vijay Mane."

The police said Singh,while checking in, had shown his driver's licence with the name Devinder Singh as the identity proof and gave its photocopy to the manager. "When the manager told Mane that name of the person was Devinder Singh, he recalled reading a news in The Indian Express of January 23. Thr picture on the photocopy was grainy and Mane asked his staffer to get the licence from him," said Daithankar.

The staffer brought the licence from the room. "I saw that he was the same man whose photo I had seen in the newspaper. I alerted the Samarth police station that a suspected criminal was staying in the lodge," said Mane.

A team comprising PI Bhagwant Ingale and API Pushpalata Mandale nabbed him from the lodge room. The police seized a laptop and four cell phones from him.

Meanwhile, the Kerala police had matched the seized items with those stole from the house of the Dubai-based businessman Venugopalan Nair last Monday. "We have now verified that those are the same items that were stolen from the house," said Inspector Prathapan Nair of Peroorkada police station in Thiruvananthapuram.

Daithankar said lodge owner had also called a staffer, who gets a Malayalam newspaper, from a nearby lodge. "That staffer informed someone in Kerala police. A senior officer from Kerala police then informed the Pune police. But by then Singh was in our custody," he said.

The police said records show that he was involved in any offence in Pune. "On Sunday evening, Singh was handed over to Kerala police for transit and would be produced in a court in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday," said Daithankar.

Meanwhile Inspector Nair confirmed that only one case where he had stolen a luxury car along with the recovered items has been registered against him in Kerala. "But his interrogation may bring forward some more facts," he said.

Bunty bears his arrest with a grin

Even while in handcuffs, Singh had a grin. Sources in Samarth police station said he was nonchalant and was "smiling all the time" during questioning. The police said Singh told them he has been running a detective agency, Krishna Detective and Security Experts, at Jor Bagh in Delhi. In his latest heist in a bungalow at Banjara Hills in Thiruvananthapuram, Singh entered the highly-secured house through the window and stole the car key. He decamped with the Mitsubishi Outlander, a laptop, cell phones and some cash. He first went to Tamil Nadu and then to Bangalore. He left the car in Tamil Nadu and came to Pune via Belgaum and Kolhapur, said the police.

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