The Mumbai Police Crime Branch has cracked the theft of gold worth Rs 1.44 crore from the Chhatrapati Shivaji domestic airport last month with the arrest of two courier firm employees on Monday. The police also recovered all the valuables.
Santosh Kadam (33) and Ravi Satam (40),who worked with courier firms operating from the airport,had chanced upon the consignment that was marked VAL or valuable. They were arrested in Vile Parle where they had come to allegedly sell a part of the valuables.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Himanshu Roy said,The consignment was brought to Mumbai via an Air India flight from Hyderabad on December 21. Marudhar Express Private Ltd had been given the task of transporting the parcel,which was to be collected the next day.
Roy said the airlines Hyderabad office forgot to inform their Mumbai counterparts about the consignment. When such a consignment is transported,the airline informs their local office,and its employees and an armed guard are sent to collect it from the tarmac. There was a communication gap and no one went to collect the consignment. It was taken to the holding area with the other cargo, said Roy.
When Kadam and Satam went to collect their consignments the next morning,they found the package. They hid it with their consignment and walked out. Once the case was registered,we knew someone who had access to the airport was involved. There are many courier firms which operate from there and their employees became our suspects, said Roy.
Crime Branch officers then started questioning all those who had access to the area where the theft was committed. It was a restricted area and about 40 people,apart from airport officials,had access. We questioned them before zeroing in on the two accused. The statements given by Kadam and Satam stood out. We put a tail on them and nabbed them when they went to sell some valuables. Then they told us where the stolen gold was kept, Roy said. The two have been remanded in police custody till January 10.
A Crime Branch officer said while the local police had earlier detained and questioned the accused,they had released them. But when we grilled them,we found that their statements were not matching, said an officer.
However,senior police inspector Dilipkumar Taral of the airport police station said,We had to take the statements of everyone who had access to the consignment. We recorded 22 statements and had to build a case from scratch. Our inputs also helped nab the accused. At the end of the day,both local police and Crime Branch work for the Mumbai Police.