The practice of engraving the recipient’s name on a utensil while giving it as a gift proved too costly for a thief, after police tracked him down using the utensil he left behind at the crime scene.
The arrested man, Bharat Dikhole, had stolen cash and jewellery worth Rs 50 lakh from two Nerul-based goldsmiths, who were carrying the jewellery from Nanded in a private bus. The Solapur resident reportedly committed the crime along with four others.
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So far, police have arrested Dikhole and recovered nearly Rs 19 lakh. The incident took place on February 22, when two goldsmiths from a Zaveri Bazaar-based jewellery shop had gone to Nanded to sell jewellery.
The duo was carrying nearly 2,100 grams of gold jewellery. They sold 300 grams in Nanded and took a private bus from there with the remaining jewellery and cash, together amounting to around Rs 50 lakh.
The jewellers locked the jewellery and cash in a leather bag. Unknown to the goldsmiths, two of the five accused, who had been following them from Nanded and had been tracking them for over a month, got into the bus and sat ahead of them.
The bus took a halt when it reached Beed for lunch break. At this point, when everyone disembarked from the bus, the thieves broke open the bag containing the jewellery and got off.
Three other accused, who were following the bus in a Scorpio vehicle since Nanded, picked them up and fled the spot. The two goldsmiths returned to the bus and only after a while did they realise that the cash and jewellery were missing.
When the bus reached Navi Mumbai, they approached Nerul police station, where an FIR was registered against unidentified people.
DCP Shahaji Umap said that police formed teams that went to Nanded and probed CCTV footages of shops where the two goldsmiths sold the jewellery.
“In the footage, we saw five men following the goldsmiths. We got their pictures done,” Umap said. In the meantime police found that a bag had been left behind in the bus near the seats where the two accused were seated.
On checking the contents, they found a steel bowl with the name Rajaram Sakharam Dikhole engraved on it. “We checked the voters’ list and found that people with that surname reside in a particular locality in Solapur,” the officer said.
The police team then went to Solapur and started looking for ‘Rajaram’. Cops were also armed with the photographs of the five accused. Locals identified one of the accused as Bharat, after which police arrested him.
Bharat had given the utensil to his nephew Rajaram on the latter’s wedding a few years ago. Bharat confessed to his and the other’s involvement in the crime. “Of the Rs 50 lakh, we have recovered Rs 18 lakh. We should be able to track down the other accused soon and recover the rest of the booty,” Umap said.