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Twist in 2014 Vyapar Bhawan heist: Senior sales tax official who lodged complaint held; is main suspect now

11 kg of gold and 35 kg of silver had gone missing from Vyapar Bhawan.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | Delhi | Published: December 12, 2015 1:41:40 am

A senior sales tax official who lodged a complaint with the police in 2014 after 11 kg of gold and 35 kg of silver went missing from Vyapar Bhawan has been arrested and is the main suspect in the case now, said police sources.

Homkaran, assistant commissioner of the sales tax department, is in police custody, added the sources. Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav confirmed Homkaran’s arrest, but declined to share details.

The arrest adds a twist to the case, which saw a security guard, who was questioned by the police in connection with the heist, commit suicide in May last year.

In an apparent suicide note, security guard Pitambar Naitu accused his seniors of falsely implicating him in the case and said the police tortured him during investigation.

There is no trace of the missing gold and silver, yet. It went missing from the 13th floor of Vyapar Bhawan, near the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO. The gold and silver had been confiscated by the Department of Trade and Taxes in March 2014 from Old Delhi railway station after an export company failed to explain the consignment.

Homkaran was arrested earlier this week after investigators received a report from the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), said a source.
“The FSL had lifted fingerprints from the crime scene and they stated that the lock of a room adjacent to the conference hall on the 13th floor, from where the boxes were stolen, was opened with the original key. However, another room was unlocked forcibly,” the sources added.

According to the sources, Homkaran has not been able to give satisfactory answers to questions over why the custody of the boxes was not immediately given to senior officials after they were confiscated; and why the boxes were first kept at their Indraprastha Power House warehouse before being brought to the 13th floor of Vyapar Bhawan.

“Police found during investigation the theft was meticulously planned. Only about 65 of the nearly 170 CCTV cameras on the premises of the sales tax office function and they are switched off after 6 pm,” said police sources.

“There is no CCTV footage of the theft,” added the sources.

The theft came to light on May 10 last year after Homkaran lodged a complaint at the I P Estate police station.

He told the police that the confiscated gold and silver, kept in two sealed boxes, had been stolen in April. Two security guards had been deployed outside the office when the crime was apparently committed, according to his complaint.

The case was later transferred to the Crime Branch, which has questioned over 150 employees of the sales tax department, said sources.

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