Police arrest Manappuram assistant manager,aide

The police have recovered 17.5 kg gold and Rs 2.9 lakh in cash from them.

Written by Express News Service | Published:April 20, 2012 12:38 am

The Pune police have arrested Somnath Raghu Waghapure (26),assistant manager with Manappuram Gold Finance and resident of Lohegaon and Tejas Rajaram Bhosale (31) of Gulunche village in Purandar taluka,for their alleged involvement in the Rs 5 crore heist at Bhavani Peth branch of Manappuram Gold Loans,on Tuesday. The police have recovered 17.5 kg gold and Rs 2.9 lakh in cash from them. The team of 22 policemen led by inspector (crime branch,unit I) Sunil Deshmukh and Satish Govekar has been awarded Rs 25,000 by joint commissioner of police Sanjiv Singhal for cracking the case in quick time.

Singhal told reporters on Thursday that Waghapure had done a postgraduate diploma in business management (PGDBM) from London in 2010,while Bhosale is a farm labourer. Waghapure was earlier working at the Khadki branch of Manappuram Gold Finance and was shifted to the Bhavani Peth branch just a week ago. Two other suspects,Nitin alias Gotya Gaikwad (25) of Saswad and Akil alias Bablu Mohammad Ambekar (28) of Karhad,Satara,are absconding. All the four accused hailed from the same village,Rakh in Purandar taluka,said Singhal.

“Waghapure is suspected to have hatched the conspiracy around two months ago. While Waghapure had taken Rs 3.3 lakh cash as his share,the rest are suspected to have taken Rs 1.5-2 lakh cash,” he said.

Satish Govekar,police inspector with crime branch (unit I),said the police had suspected the involvement of an insider and had zeroed-in on three-four suspects,including Waghapure. He was arrested on Thursday,after which he revealed the names of his accomplices. Bhosale was arrested late in the evening and the booty was recovered from his relative’s residence at Rakh village in Satara. The booty was kept in plastic bags kept in a big suitcase. “We are yet to ascertain whether the relative was aware of the contents of the bag,” he said.

Singhal said the accused had duplicated five keys needed to break into the safe kept in the strongroom. “We suspect that the keys were duplicated in Satara,” he said. There were three CCTV cameras inside the strongroom. The main CCTV camera was switched off after duty hours ended at 7 pm,while two other CCTV cameras were on at the time of the robbery. “We have requested for the CCTV footage of these two cameras from the bank,but are yet to get it,” Singhal said.

The police said the watchman,Nandakumar Kshirsagar,told them he had received a call on the office telephone around 7.30 pm on Tuesday and the caller asked him to go downstairs with some documents. Thinking the call was made by some office staffer,Kshirsagar went downstairs after locking the office. The police suspect that the phone call was made by one of the four accused. He found no one waiting for him and went for tea and returned after about half an hour. He found the door locked and nothing amiss and went about his usual routine,the police said.

The robbery had come to light on Wednesday morning when employees of the gold loan finance firm reached the office on the first floor of Ram Ganga Apartments in Ramoshi Gate area of Bhavani Peth and found the gold and cash missing from the strongroom. Branch manager Vidyadhar Sathe had lodged a complaint of theft at Khadak police station.

Meanwhile,Manappuram Finance said in a press release that the stolen gold has been insured for its market value and thus customers would not lose money.

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