• Tuesday, March 05, 2024

Human Interest

Law comes back to arrest man, 78, in India’s Karnataka for stealing buffaloes in 1965

Ganapati Vitthal Wagore was arrested 58 years ago with another co-accused but they had disappeared after getting released on bail.

An Indian man splashes his herd of buffalo with water. (Photo by NARINDER NANU/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

A 78-YEAR-OLD man in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has been arrested on charges of stealing two buffaloes and a calf, not now but in 1965, when he was only 20, the BBC reported.

Ganapati Vitthal Wagore was also arrested at the time of the alleged theft, along with another man named Krishna Chander.

According to the police, they were then freed on bail but disappeared after that. The co-accused passed away in 2006.

Last week, a court freed Wagore on bail after the re-arrest taking into account his age.

A few weeks ago, the case resurfaced after a team of police pulled it out of the cold storage while going through old files of pending probes and decided to have another go at the accused duo, the report added.

While the theft took place in Bidar district of Karnataka, Wagore was caught from different villages in the neighbouring state of Maharashtra on both occasions.

According to police, Wagore and Chander had admitted to the animals’ theft 58 years ago and were produced before a local court that had granted them conditional bail.

But after getting released, they stopped responding to legal calls and warrants. The police looked for them in villages in both Karnataka and Maharashtra but the two men, who worked as agricultural workers, could not be traced.

The police re-opened the case in August.

“My colleagues began making inquiries among the residents of Umarga village,” Chennabasavanna Langoti, police chief of Bidar district, was quoted as saying by BBC Hindi.

Langoti said it was an old woman who helped them by revealing that Wagore is still alive. She guided them to Thakalagaon village in Nanded district of Maharashtra which borders Karnataka’s Bidar.

“When we spoke to her, she innocuously told my colleagues that he [Wagore] is alive,” the police officer told BBC.

A police team visited the village where residents said a man named Wagore had been staying in a local temple. When the officials met him, he identified himself to them and said he had been “too scared to go to the court”.

Wagore was brought back to Karnataka and taken to a court where he was represented pro bono by a lawyer from the Legal Aid Society.

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