15/03/2016 4:36 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

World Culture Festival: 70 FIRs Registered For Theft, 30 People Held

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 14: Garbage mess at the site of the Art of Living's World Culture Festival on the morning after the event, on March 14, 2016 in New Delhi, India. The three-day gala, which ended on March 13, saw a footfall of over 2 lakh visitors from scores of countries across the world. In the wake of the controversial World Culture Festival, the thousand volunteers, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said would clean up the venue, could not be found. Instead, rag-pickers and contractors are making their way through the mess accumulated over three days of the festival. The WCF was held on Yamuna's floodplains, a fragile wetland ecology. The festival was challenged in the National Green Tribunal, which accepted that the event had damaged the floodplains, but allowed it against an initial compensation of Rs. 5 crore. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI -- Gangs from across the country targeted visitors at three-day World Culture Festival in the national capital amid high security and made away with valuable articles like laptops, jewellery and cash, leading to at least 70 FIRs and the police apprehending about 30 persons.

Of the gangs busted, some were found to have come from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Also, many of the gang members were women. It has come to light that their arrival at the event was well-planned, a senior official said today.

Police registered around 70 FIRs under IPC section 379 (theft) and a few under section 392 (robbery) which is applied in cases of chain snatching, the official said.

The gangs targeted not only visitors, including several from foreign nations, but also the makeshift stalls which were set up inside the premises.

While about 20 cases were reported on the day of inauguration, which was done by the Prime Minister, the highest were reported on Sunday (day three), the official said.

Almost all the 30 persons apprehended, were nabbed from the venue itself. Some of them were also held by visitors and handed over to police officials present at the spot. One such case was of a foreign national whose mobile phone was allegedly fished out of his pocket.

Some of the pickpocket gangs comprised only women, of which the police apprehended a few, the official added.

There was heavy security arrangements, involving deployment of about 12,000 police personnel, for the cultural extravaganza organised by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Art of Living foundation at the Yamuna floodplains here.

Apart from local police and personnel from Security Unit, specialised units like that of PM Security, Intelligence, Special Cell, Crime Branch and Economic Offences Wing were also roped in and a separate control room was set up.

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