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December 22, 2003

Mastermind of robbery is deaf and dumb

From: Mid-Day Mumbai, India - Dec 22, 2003

By: Nitasha Natu

Fast cars and smoke filled pubs was what life was all about. So, when they ran out of money, three rich youngsters decided to rob their neighbour, model-turned-actress Raveena Singh. The trio, who stole Rs 26 lakh in cash apart from jewellery, spent over Rs 7.5 lakh each, before the Oshiwara police arrested them last Friday.

The mastermind Gautam Arjun Singh (21), who is deaf and dumb, Sadak Hussain Khan (22) and Abdul Razzak Kudalkatti (19) were regular pub hoppers and were in constant need of money to splurge.

Gautam, who stayed next door to Raveena, apparently kept a tab on the actress's house. Raveena was planning to buy a flat of her own and the boys were certain that she had stashed a large amount of money at her Oshiwara residence.

"The boys needed the money for partying and they were also into alcohol and drugs. They knew Raveena would be out of town from November 26 to December 5 so they planned the robbery in advance," said API Jagdeesh Saeel of the Oshiwara police.

"After robbing the actress, the trio spent the money lavishly, indulging in the best of coffee shops, discotheques and bars," he added. With his share of the loot, Gautam, who is deaf and dumb, purchased a Santro car and fitted it with a sound system worth Rs 90,000.

The other two also spent Rs 7.5 lakh each and had a huge female fan following at the pubs that they went to. Incidentally, Gautam had also been nabbed earlier for a bike theft and for stealing car audio systems.

Meanwhile, Raveena is disturbed over the entire episode and is planning to move from her residence later this week.

Modus operandi

On November 27, the trio planned to break into Raveena Singh's flat at Dheeraj Residency in Oshiwara. They had a set of duplicate keys made to her flat, which they collected from Lokhandwala at 3 am.

An hour later, when they made their way to Raveena's 5th floor flat, the watchman did not stop them since Gautam resided on the same floor. The trio then entered her flat using the duplicate keys and broke open her cupboard using an iron rod.

To their surprise and delight, they found bundles of cash and jewellery kept in the open. Subsequently, they stole her jewellery and cash worth Rs 26 lakh, besides a video camera and a camcorder before fleeing.

The mastermind

Gautam Singh, who has been deaf and dumb since birth, surprised everyone after he was arrested. With an innocent, boy-next-door look, you would not suspect him of robbery.

He was known to be very generous with his friends and made sure they had a good time, and took them for long rides in his car. Also into drugs and liquor, he was a regular at discotheques in the city.

"Gautam, though deaf and dumb, is an expert at communicating through signs. He also used SMS frequently and owned two cell phones," said the police.

"They robbed us too"

Another case of robbery against Gautam Singh and two others was registered at the Goregaon police station last month.

Gautam apparently made duplicate keys to the flat of his neighbour, businessman Anurag Sharma, and robbed him of over Rs 6 lakh.

"We changed the locks on our door almost thrice but he would always manage to enter our house and pilfer small amounts," said Sharma.

"On November 11, he stole Rs 35,000 cash from my locker when my wife left the house for just 10 minutes. Initially, we did not suspect him but then we started missing our credit cards and driving licence and were shocked to discover that over Rs 1.25 lakh had been withdrawn from our bank account via cheques. He stole our cheque book and forged cheques," said Sharma.

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