July 30, 2021 12:03:58 am
IN AN extensive probe spanning over a month and spread across Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Pune Rural police nabbed 15 suspects in a case of armed dacoity in which a 75-year-old doctor and his 68-year-old wife were tied up, gagged and looted of cash and jewellery worth nearly Rs 66 lakh at knife-point in Lonavala in June.
The police have also recovered the stolen valuables and cash worth over Rs 30 lakh from the arrested suspects, including two minors.
The initial probe revealed that the gang of robbers had struck around 1 am on June 17 when Dr Hiralal Khandelwal and his wife Vijaya were asleep on the first floor of their house in Lonavala. Three of their domestic help were in their ground-floor clinic.
The armed robbers entered the first floor by climbing up to an open window. While some of them entered the house, others were outside the building to keep a watch. The robbers decamped with Rs 50 lakh cash and jewellery worth Rs 16 lakh.
An investigation involving multiple teams from the local crime branch and Lonavala Town police was launched and monitored by senior officials. The probe teams put coordinated efforts that lasted for over three weeks.
The probe has revealed that the heist plan was masterminded by some hardened criminals from Sagar district in Madhya Pradesh who had taken local support from suspects based in Pune and Mumbai.
A senior police officer said the suspects had decided to target the elderly couple after gathering information about their assets. Some of the suspects had come to Lonavala a week prior to the heist to do a recce of the bungalow.
The police have identified around two dozen men from Pune, Mumbai and Sagar and arrested 13 of them so far. The minors have been detained. A search is on for some more suspects.
While the arrests started on June 26, the police shared the probe details only on Thursday considering the dynamic nature of the case. At first, six people, including suspects from Mumbai and Pune, were arrested. The last set of arrest was of three suspects from Sagar, Madhya Pradesh, on July 25.
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