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'Bunty Chor' To 'Super Natwarlal': A Look At India's Most 'Famed' Thieves

Against the backdrop of ‘Bunty Chor’s' arrest whose famed history of notoriety became inspired by the 2008 Dibakar Banerjee film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! starring Abhay Deol, we look at a few of India’s most widely known thieves or ‘super chors’ whose actions have had the most talked about.

India's most 'famed' thieves. (Representative image)
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Devendra Singh alias ‘Bunty Chor’ was arrested on April 13 from Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur after allegedly committing theft at two houses in a posh South Delhi locality. 

According to the police, a complaint was registered in the early hours of April 13 when a resident of Delhi’s GK2 Block-M registered a complaint at the CR Park Police Station after a couple of expensive belongings including mobile phones, wrist watch, and laptops, among other things were from their house. On the same day, during the course of the investigation, another similar robbery was reported from another house in GK2 E Block. 

Further investigation led to a chase of Singh and he was ultimately arrested near a toll booth in Kanpur. Singh tried to escape, but the police team broke the glass window of the car and arrested him. 

Singh, a famous modern-day thief in India has been responsible for as many as 500 crimes by 2012 and recently he walked out from a 10-year jail term in Kerala. Since the time he began his notoriety in 1993, he has been arrested six times and convicted thrice. 

Against the backdrop of ‘Bunty Chor’’s arrest whose famed history of notoriety became inspired by the 2008 Dibakar Banerjee film Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! starring Abhay Deol, we look at a few of India’s most widely known thieves or ‘super chors’ whose actions have had the most talked about.

1. Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava (Natwarlal)

Natwarlal was often known as India’s ‘best conman’ who tried to sell ‘Taj Mahal’ and ‘Parliament’. Natwarlal, who was a lawyer by profession became master at forging signs and that marked his entry into the world of crime. Originally from Bihar, Natwarlal was arrested nine or ten times, but most of these times, he was able to break out and escape. In his home state alone, it is said he was booked for over 14 cases of forgery and was sentenced to nearly 113 years of jail. However, given his track record of cunning escaping skills, it is said that he had spent only 20 years in jail.

Natwarlal’s cause of death is still a mystery, however, his lawyer claims that he died in 2009 after his last escape in Ranchi. 

2. Anil Chauhan 

Anil Chauhan, known as India’s ‘biggest car thief’, who was arrested in September 2022, was the kingpin of the gang that stole over 5,000 vehicles since 1998 and allegedly sold them in the Northeast and Nepal. Chauhan, who hails from Tejpur, Assam, is also a big supplier of illegal arms, PTI reported police as saying. He was also notorious for smuggling rhino horns in the northeastern state. 

He has a total of 181 previous cases registered against him and has been convicted for five years in a case criminal case at Nizamuddin police station.

3. Dhani Ram Mittal 

Known as ‘super Natwarlal’, Mittal had been stealing vehicles since 1964 and his area of operations was Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh and Punjab. Mittal who was born in Haryana's Bhiwani in 1939 holds a law degree besides having a diploma in calligraphy. At least 130 criminal cases are registered against him in different parts of North India.

During AN interrogation, Mittal said that he is a compulsive thief (kleptomaniac). He had been previously arrested in cases under NDPS Act, Arms Act, Gambling Act, and Excise Act and for escaping from police custody, impersonation and cheating. Mittal usually targeted old-model vehicles lacking anti-theft devices, with the help of a master key.

4. Ravi ‘Pujari’

Ravi alias Pujari, who has been booked in 35 cases lodged in Panchkula, Chandigarh, Mohali and Pinjore, mostly ensured that he never left behind a trace after committing a theft. Last year, after facing arrest, the accused so revealed his involvement in at least 10 thefts that took place in Mohali. Ravi started carrying out thefts in 2014 and was first arrested in 2015. He was subsequently arrested for a second time in 2020. He mostly had no aides during his thefts. 

Currently, Pujari remains a wanted accused in a 2017 case pertaining to the alleged extortion of IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar and the gangster’s alleged involvement has invoked the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in the case. 

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