Six persons of an inter-state gang have been arrested for their involvement in the heist at a Muthoot Finance branch at RC Puram on the outskirts of Hyderabad on December 28. Cyberabad Police Commissioner Sandeep Shandilya said members of the gang hailed from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and UP, and were arrested from a hideout in Latur, Maharashtra.
WATCH | Posing As CBI Officials, 5 Loot 40 Kg Gold From Muthoot Finance in Hyderabad
Police seized 3.5 kg of gold ornaments and Rs 5 lakh in cash, and added that the gang had turned over 30 kg of gold into bars and sold them to jewellers. The bars and the remaining gold is yet to be recovered.
On December 28, five persons walked into the Muthoot Finance branch claiming to be CBI officers from Delhi. After gaining entry, they locked up the employees in the bathroom on gunpoint. They then looted 41.8 kg gold and Rs 91,863 in cash and fled from the scene in a black SUV. They also took away the CCTV’s DVR.
Police then analysed CCTV footage from several junctions and found that the same SUV with a fake AP-28- N-3107 registration number in which the culprits had fled had crossed a checkpost at Sangareddy. They also noticed a red bike, bearing registration number KA 32 Y 3610, piloting the Scorpio towards Karnataka via Vikarabad, Parigi and Kodangal, Ribbanplly, Sedam and Chittapur.
Later, it was discovered that the bike belonged to Vijay Kumar, an absconding thief and a resident of Halakatta in Gulbarga.
Based on Vijay Kumar’s crime history, police gathered more clues, then tracked down and arrested gang members Lakshman Narayan Mudhang, Ganesh Pandurang Bhonsle alias Patil, Subhash Pujari Pandey, Sunder Rajaratnam Kangalla, Kaala alias Lambu and Thukaram Gaikwad.
Mudhang is a resident of Panchavati in Nasik, Maharashtra. The gang was also allegedly involved in a dacoity at Muthoot Finance at Gulbarga in March last year, and a failed heist attempt at Muthoot Finance, KPHB in Hyderabad, in December 2015.
“Lakshman used to identify the finance branch to be looted and conduct recce. The gang conducted detailed studies of the branches, police stations and escape routes,’’ said Shandilya.
Lakhshman has three dacoity and two assault cases against him and he has also spent a year in jail. Sunder, a friend of Lakshman and resident of Dharavi, had posed as a Sikh police officer to gain entry into the branch on December 28. Subhash is accused of procuring vehicles and mobilising associates. Vijay Kumar, who was riding the bike, is Lakshman’s cousin and allegedly provided shelter to the gang members at his home in Kalburgi after the heist.
Police said that after the heist, the gang spent the night at Vijay’s house and the next morning, proceeded to Nasik where the ornaments were melted at Patil’s house. Another gang member who is absconding, Roshan Yadav, got a smelter from Mumbai for melting the gold jewellery and making gold bars at Patil’s house in Nasik. The gold was turned into 36 bars which were shared among the members with Lakshman and Subhash getting double the share, police added.
Police said all the six arrested accused knew each other well and were accomplices in various other crimes. They are yet to arrest Kumar Pal Trilokchand Shah, a Mumbai-based jeweller. Police said that Shah has been financing the offenders for committing the offences. He will purchase the booty and offer 50 per cent of the market value to the offenders. He had also allegedly received the stolen jewellery weighing about 17 kg pertaining to the dacoities of Muthoot Finance branches of Gulbarga and RC Puram and paid them Rs 1.2 crore and Rs 32 lakh, respectively, added police.