Dmu Police nab kingpin of Rs.80L heist

Dmu Police nab kingpin of Rs.80L heist
Arrested kingpin
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, NOV 1 (NPN) | Publish Date: 11/1/2018 12:36:00 PM IST

The case of sensational loot of Rs 80 lakh from a van carrying cash for ATM near SBI main branch here on July 18 this year has been finally resolved with the arrest of its kingpin from Howrah railway station on October 28. 

Announcing this at a press conference at his office here on Thursday, police commissioner Limasunep Jamir claimed that 60-year-old GS Mudaliyar – who hailed from Chennai in Tamil Nadu and was residing at Bandel in West Bengal’s Hooghly district at the time of his arrest – was the mastermind of the sensational robbery case, in which 10 more persons were involved.  

He said the kingpin was nabbed by Dimapur Police personnel in collaboration with their counterparts in Kolkata Police. 

Limasunep said though other 10 members of the gang were still at large, the police was hopeful of arresting them too now that the kingpin was in their custody. Four of the gang members were above 45 years, while the remaining members were in their late 20s, he added.

According to the police commissioner, the police took around three months to crack the case under the leadership of DCP Zone-1 Naieem Mustafa and ADCP (Crime) Relo T Aye, adding it was made possible largely due to an “excellent technical surveillance.”  

It has been learnt that what was initially speculated to be an “insider’s job” was actually an outcome of a “smart, well-planned, coordinated and extensively connected” gang that functioned like a syndicate and operated out of Ramji Nagar in Tiruchirappalli district of Tamil Nadu.  

Limasunep said there were lapses on the part of the security agency of the bank, adding that certain responsibilities would have to be taken by the bank management.

Modus operandi: The police commissioner explained that the van’s driver was told by a gang member that there was cash on the ground near his vehicle. And when the driver came out of the van to check, four other members of the gang blocked his view to let the kingpin quickly snatch the bag containing cash and fled.

Limasunep said this method was called “attention diversion tactic”, where a member from the gang threw money on the ground to distract the victim as another quickly made off with the loot. The gang members that conducted the heist were experts in this, he added.

Relo, who was present during the press briefing, said the gang members were so well prepared and organised that all of them spoke in different languages, but mainly in what seemed like Adivasi language in order to confuse investigators.

Nabbing the kingpin: The ADCP said the police had to study footages from several surveillance cameras of the area where the heist took place and other areas to zero in on the suspects. He added that the technical team did a commendable job to get the leads after which the police did their homework and sent a team to Howrah in Kolkata to coordinate with the police in Howrah and nab the accused. 

The syndicate: Mustafa, who also briefed the media persons, said that gang that carried out the heist was based in Tiruchirappalli district and that around 1,500 families were solely dependent on this profession for their sustenance.

The gang operated in a hierarchical manner with the kingpin at the top of the hierarchy and a 30-50 members below him. 

The DCP explained that the recees were generally conducted by juveniles in the team to avoid suspicion. They also had cooks and laundry men accompanying them whenever they travelled. The new inductees were as young as 15 or 16 years and were trained before they got into field work, he added. 

Mustafa claimed that the community was so well organised that it had informers who alerted them whenever police from other States landed up in Tiruchirappalli district. 

It also had a common “community welfare fund” where the gang members pooled in 3% of all loots to pay for legal and other community expenses, besides a legal team to fight their cases or bail them out, in case of any arrest.

The team: According to the DCP, the gang that carried out the heist in Dimapur comprised of an 11-member gang.  After a recee of the area was first conducted by the team, its kingpin along with a seven-member team employed its “attention diversion tactic” on the van’s driver to loot the money. While the operation was carried out, two members were already at the railway station with their luggage waiting for them. Similarly, another member of the gang was at Guwahati railway station waiting for them, he pointed out. 

‘Divine’ connection: Interestingly, according to Mustafa, these criminals were very religious and performed pujas before carrying out heists and even offered money to temples whenever they successfully pulled off a heist.  In this way, they seem to legitimise their crime, he added.

Areas of operation: Mentioning that there were many such teams that operated thorough the country, the DCP explained that they did not have a fixed target or location and were constantly on the move, which made it difficult for law enforcement agencies to act. 

Main targets: Relo said their main targets were generally people carrying money outside banks, post offices and LIC offices. 

Meanwhile, sounding a note of caution to the general public, the ADCP said now that the festive season had kicked in, the police could not fully guarantee that such incidents would not recur as criminals like those that stole Rs 80 lakh on July 18 had their eyes on places like Dimapur. He urged the people to remain alert and maintain a strict vigil on such elements.

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