Hyderabad: The Cyberabad police on 15 December arrested five members of a gang that had raided a realtor's house posing as CBI officers and stole gold ornaments and cash from the realtor's flat at Jayabheri Orange County, a gated community in Nanakramguda, Gachibowli. The police recovered 1.2 kg gold and five mobile phones from their possession, all worth Rs. 1.20 crore.

In her police complaint, Baghya Laxmi, wife of realtor Subramaniam, said four men claiming to be CBI officers came to her home. They showed her their ID cards, entered the house, and asked the family members to stay in the hall. The men went to her bedroom and took the locker keys from her handbag. They decamped with gold and diamond ornaments and cash.

The arrested persons were identified as Yendla Aravind, Nelapudi Murali Sridhar, Pasagada Venkatrao, Somani Sandeep, and Punnani Mohan, all from Andhra Pradesh. Four others - Marupudi Jashwanth, Saibaba, Srinivas, and Chalakapati Srinivas - are absconding.

Aravind and Sandeep lived in neighbouring villages in East Godavari and became friends, while Sandeep and Mohan are college friends from Vizag.

The Plan

In August 2020, Mohan set up a restaurant called Bucket Salads at Lumbini Amrutha Chambers Building in Road No. 3, Banjara Hills. The same building also housed Bhuvanateja Real Estate Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd. There Mohan became acquainted with Jaswant who worked at the real estate firm.

Jashwanth introduced Mohan and Sandeep to Venkata Subramaniam, the managing director of Bhuvanateja Real Estate. Mr. Subramaniam frequently visited their restaurant.

In August 2021, Mohan and Sandeep opened a cafe called Revival at Vittal Rao Nagar, Madhapur.

In October 2021, Aravind met Mohan and Jashwant and they partied and got drunk. Jashwanth told his friends about Venkata Subramanyam and his real estate business and the gang hatched a plan to steal cash and gold from the man's house in Jayaberi Orange County. They decided to impersonate CBI officers.

Meanwhile, Aravind went to his village in East Godavari and recruited his friends Murali, Srinivas, Saibaba, and Venkat Rao. He promised to give them large sums of money.

The action

On 12 December, Aravind and his friends hired a Maruthi Ertiga from Kasina Veere Venkata Sathynarayana Murthi who runs a travels business at Bheemavaram. They reached Hyderabad the next day and rented a room in Manikonda. Sandeep, Mohan, and Jashwanth met Aravind and his friends to discuss their plan. Aravind explained that they would impersonate CBI officers, conduct a fake raid, and seize gold, cash, and other valuables.

Dressed in similar clothes and carrying fake ID cards of CBI officers, the gang went to Mr. Subramaniam's house and waited for Jaswanth's call. After some time Jaswanth informed them that Mr. Subramaniam had left his home and reached his office.

Aravind and his friends entered the Jayabheri Orange County community in a vehicle with a fake number plate. All of them wore gloves and face masks. They entered the realtor's flat where they met Baghya Laxmi, her three children, and their driver Swamy Naidu. They asked them to sit down on the sofa in the hall and took their mobiles and switched them off.

The gang showed them their ID cards and told them they were from the CBI and searched the house. They entered the master bedroom and opened all lockers, took gold ornaments weighing about 1,340 grams, and cash worth Rs. 2 lakhs. They then fled the place.

The chase

The special operation team (SOT), Madhapur zone, and the Gachibowli police collected CCTV footage and got photos of the offender's vehicle. This led them to the accused. Based on specific information, they caught the five accused on 15 December at RC Puram railway station. During interrogation, they confessed to the crime.

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