Hyderabad: This crime bust had all the ingredients of drama, thrill, and suspense.
A shoe helped the cops to bust the interstate gang involved in 25 kg gold heist at Muthoot Finance in Hosur area of Krishnagiri district in Tamil Nadu.
The gang was caught in a joint operation by Telangana and Tamil Nadu police in a record time. Investigators were groping in dark with clues leading them to nowhere. It was a shoe that helped the cops to unravel the mystery.
After the gang looted Muthoot Finance on Friday morning at gunpoint, local police alerted all neighboring states including Telangana police.
Cyberabad police also swung into action and stepped up vigil at all the entry and exit points.
Cops received information that the suspects were traveling in a container and a Tata Sumo.
Cyberabad police intercepted a Sumo at Raikal toll plaza near Shad Nagar and after verifying the details, they let the vehicle go. However, police at Shamshabad toll plaza detained five passengers traveling in the same Sumo for questioning.
Though the suspects did not reveal any details, the police did not let them go. Cyberabad police sent their pictures to Tamil Nadu police for verification.
Tamil Nadu police too could not confirm if they were the same persons involved in the heist since the robbers were wearing masks and helmets when they committed the crime.
Cyberabad police then again went to the drawing board and scanned the CCTV footage for any clues. They matched the features of masked men with the suspects in custody.
During the scan, they found that a shoe of one suspect matched with the masked robbers. And this turned the tables and cops got the headstart.
The suspect was put to sustained interrogation. During questioning, he confessed to the crime. Later other suspects also admitted their role.
Special teams alerted the exit points at Medchal where the container was expected to enter NH 44 towards Nagpur. Finally, with coordinated efforts, police nabbed the suspects and recovered the stolen gold Police also seized weapons used for the crime.
The Cyberabad police, on 23 January, arrested eight members of the inter-state dacoity gang who had robbed Muthoot Finance at Hosur in Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu. They recovered 25 kg gold and cash worth Rs. 93,000.
The accused have been identified as Rup Singh Baghal (22), Shanker Singh Baghal (36), Pavan Kumar Vishkarma (22), Bhupendhar Manji (24), Vivek Mandal (32), Teak Ram (55), Rajiv Kumar (35), and Lulya Pandey. They are from Madhya Pradesh, UP, and Jharkhand. One of the accused, Amith from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, is absconding.
How the Muthoot heist was planned:
Around three months ago, Rup Singh Baghal and Amit moved to Bangalore with the plan to commit burglaries and rented a room there. The former was acquainted with Rup Singh Baghal, a weapons supplier. They bought seven pistols, 10 magazines, 97 rounds, and a container vehicle. Meanwhile, Rup Singh's brother Shanker Singh Baghal and Amit's acquaintances Vivek Mandal and Bhupendhar Maji also joined the gang in Bangalore.
The gang selected a Muthoot Finance branch at Hosur in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu. Amith visited the finance company as a bonafide customer. The gang planned to commit the offense and transport the stolen property in a container vehicle.
On 22 January, six members of the gang went to Hosur on three motorbikes. While Rup Singh Baghal and Shanker Singh Baghal kept watch outside, Amit, Pavan, Bhupendhar, and Vivek went inside the building wearing masks and helmets. They threatened the employees at gunpoint and escaped with 25 kg of mortgaged gold ornaments.
The group reached the Bangalore-Tamil Nadu border where they were met by driver Teak Ram. They hid the gold in a box and proceeded towards Nagpur. The Cyberabad police intercepted the vehicle at Medchal. They arrested the gang and recovered the stolen items.
According to the police, Amit, Shanker, Rup Singh, Sujeeth Singh, Sourabh, and Roshan Singh are habitual offenders. In October last year, they tried to rob Muthoot Finance in Ludhiana, Punjab. Three of them - Sujeeth Singh, Sourabh, and Roshan Singh - were caught red-handed while the remaining two were absconding till today. Also, Shankar Singh Baghal was also involved in a murder case.