More than a year on, ‘mastermind’ of bank heist yet to be nabbedhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/more-than-a-year-on-mastermind-of-bank-heist-yet-to-be-nabbed-5563873/

More than a year on, ‘mastermind’ of bank heist yet to be nabbed

In November 2017, a gang of five to seven men dug a tunnel from inside a shop located three doors away from the Jui Nagar branch of the bank.

Dipak Mishra is a known name in police stations across Palghar and Navi Mumbai. The history sheeter, arrested for multiple robberies in the past, is accused of masterminding the infamous Bank of Baroda heist at Jui Nagar, Navi Mumbai, in November 2017. He has managed to elude police since.

In November 2017, a gang of five to seven men dug a tunnel from inside a shop located three doors away from the Jui Nagar branch of the bank. The tunnel was used to break into bank lockers, a theft that was discovered two days later as the bank was shut owing to public holidays. While police arrested 11 men over six months, “mastermind” Mishra is still on the run.

He had befriended all the people involved in the theft in jail. This motley group conjured up a plan as a sort of last mission before enjoying a life of luxury. Mishra was the mastermind of it all, said a senior officer from the crime branch of the Navi Mumbai police.

A resident of Nallasopara, Mishra had been arrested for robberies by the Palghar police. “He has a criminal record that started in his early twenties. He would always manage to procure bail. He is unmarried, but has a family in Nallasopara,” said an officer privy to the investigation, adding, “when we traced the group and seized the loot, we were told that Mishra had the biggest share. Smartly, he never shared his escape plans with anyone.”

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The Navi Mumbai crime branch has been looking for Mishra since December 2017. “He was last traced in Bihar and we suspect that he could have moved to Uttar Pradesh. But whenever we have zeroed in on him, he has managed to flee,” said the senior officer.

Teams are still making reconnaissance trips to Bihar and neighbouring states, looking for him. “As he had a lot of foreign currency and gold, he could have easily escaped to Nepal too. He has been underground for the past two years and we haven’t heard anything about him,” added the officer.

Mishra, who recruited most of the people in the heist and planned the operation, was careful never to show his face.

“He was the most experienced in the group. Neither is there a CCTV grab of him in the area nor did the workers who dug up the tunnel know anything about him,” said an officer from Sanpada police, where the case is registered.

“We are still looking for him. He has close to 40 per cent of the loot and he will lead us to other members too. We have cultivated sources in the areas he is known to frequent. All criminals eventually blow their cover, and he will too,” said a senior crime branch officer.