VIJAYAWADA:The Vijaywada police have arrested notorious temple burglar Prakash Kumar Sahu alias Babul Naik and recovered 60 kg of stolen silver items worth Rs 25 lakh and Rs 1.19 lakh in cash from his possession.
Presenting the 38-year-old thief before newsmen here Sunday, commissioner of police AB Venkateswara Rao said Sahu, who was wanted in as many as 47 theft cases in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Odisha was apprehended by city crime branch police after strenuous efforts. The police, who had nabbed Sahu a few days back, had taken him to various locations to recover the stolen property, the CP added.
Rao said that out of the 47 thefts that Sahu had committed, 24 were in Andhra Pradesh, 14 in Odisha and the remaining 9 in Karnataka. He said that Sahu had committed his first burglary in AP at the Goddess Kanaka Durga temple here in 1988 at the age of 18 and that his latest heist was at the Sai Baba temple at Prasadampadu on the outskirts of Vijayawada, a couple of months back. He had been convicted only in three cases so far and had spent some time in jail.
A native of Bhilai in the Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Sahu had studied up to 8th class at the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) school as his father was an employee of the BSP. In his teens, Sahu had become wayward. He was first arrested by the city police in 1988 soon after he had stolen the golden crown of the Goddess at the Kanaka Durga temple, which had created quite a sensation at that time. He had then spent three years in jail.
After being released, he continued with his criminal ‘career’ and almost always burgled temples, given his fascination for silver items. The only exception perhaps was the burglary he had committed at a house located besides a temple in Ongole. He had stolen some gold and silver ornaments along with three ATM cards from that house.
Incidentally, he had managed to befriend several merchants who would buy the stolen silver items from him.
The CP said that Sahu, whose wife was pursuing a law course in Bhubaneswar, had tried to give up his criminal activities by working as a driver, but he could not resist the lure of silver and had returned to the criminal path.
“During interrogation, Sahu said that he wanted to steal enough to buy some mines and settle down in life. Now that he has been caught, he said he repented his criminal past and wanted to give up crime, but who knows,” Rao said and added that cases had been registered against Sahu and that he would be remanded to judicial custody soon.
The CP appreciated the crime branch police team which had nabbed Sahu.