Gold heist, Chennai version: A daring daylight theft


A daring daylight theft, botched up implementation and patchy unravelling of the crime — the current heist on the coronary heart of Chennai had all of the hallmarks of a plot impressed by OTT exhibits. Whereas police mopped up the investigation and claimed to have recovered all of the loot, their sizzling pursuit did take them via some surprising twists and turns

A daring daylight theft, botched up implementation and patchy unravelling of the crime — the current heist on the coronary heart of Chennai had all of the hallmarks of a plot impressed by OTT exhibits. Whereas police mopped up the investigation and claimed to have recovered all of the loot, their sizzling pursuit did take them via some surprising twists and turns

A gang of three — a low-ranking employees member of a mortgage firm, a small-time businessman, and a vendor of plantain leaves — sat exterior a tea store after an hour-long exercise in a gymnasium at Villivakkam in Chennai on a sunny morning three years in the past. An auto driver quickly joined them because the dialog picked up. Whereas sipping the tea, considered one of them questioned aloud about how lengthy he may lead a life together with his meagre earnings. One other replied that they need to loot a financial institution and cool down with the wealth. He may need meant it in jest, however someway that concept caught on. Three years later, it resulted in a financial institution theft in a really crowded a part of city, in broad daylight.

Looking back, had they deliberate it properly it won’t have been one of many heists to be cracked by the police inside per week.

1.50 p.m: Murugan walks in with a chilly drink carton and pours out the juice for Suresh and Vijayalakshmi. Suresh sips it and turns into dizzy. Vijayalakshmi refuses it. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2 p.m.: The gang pushes the security guard to a room on the second floor of the building and ties him with a rope. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2 p.m.: The gang pushes the safety guard to a room on the second ground of the constructing and ties him with a rope. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.10 p.m.: Murugan and two associates barge in. They brandish a knife at Vijayalakshmi ; push her into bathroom after snatching the keys of the vault. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.10 p.m.: Murugan and two associates barge in. They brandish a knife at Vijayalakshmi ; push her into rest room after snatching the keys of the vault. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.15 p.m.: Murugan cuts the wires of the alarm and security camera system’s digital video recorder even as Suresh puts up a fight. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.15 p.m.: Murugan cuts the wires of the alarm and safety digital camera system’s digital video recorder whilst Suresh places up a combat. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.20 p.m.: One thief opens grill gate of the strong room; another opens the vault. They stuff the jewels in bags, lock up Suresh and Vijayalakshmi in strong room and flee. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

2.20 p.m.: One thief opens grill gate of the robust room; one other opens the vault. They stuff the jewels in luggage, lock up Suresh and Vijayalakshmi in robust room and flee. Illustration: Sreejith R. Kumar

On August 13, a Saturday afternoon, the buddies struck at a two-storey constructing housing a department of Fed Financial institution Monetary Companies, a subsidiary of Federal Financial institution, on Razak Backyard Street at Arumbakkam. The department affords loans in opposition to gold jewelry. It has a powerful room with lockers for the custody of the pledged jewelry. Solely three employees members — Okay. Suresh, 30, a department supervisor; Vijayalakshmi, 30, a customer support government; and Murugan, 30, a relationship government, together with Saravanan, a safety guard on the gate — have been on responsibility that day.

Murugan had labored on the Padi department for per week and reported for responsibility on the Arumbakkam department at 9.40 a.m. Suresh and Vijayalakshmi have been already current. That day, because it emerged from the police investigation, Murugan was often stepping out of the workplace. At 1.30 p.m., he went out once more below the pretext of gathering the cell phone from a service centre. Half-an-hour later, he returned with a bottle of a ready-to-drink beverage and poured it into two cups for his colleagues. Whereas Vijayalakshmi turned him down, Suresh sipped it and felt mildly giddy quickly after.

At 2.10 p.m., Murugan introduced in two unidentified individuals. One in all them brandished a foot-long knife at Vijayalakshmi, who was standing close to the robust room, and threatened to slash her neck if she shouted. He pushed her to the wash-room. Then Suresh warned Murugan to not betray the organisation he was working for. Murugan went on to sever the cables of the CCTV recorder and the safety alarm system with a small knife. One in all his accomplices snatched a bunch of keys for the robust room and a cell phone from Suresh’s pocket. Then, Murugan and his affiliate opened the principle grill of the robust room, and the vault. The trio took the jewelry saved in 481 covers from the locker and stuffed them in 4 shoulder luggage.

Brandished weapons

They brandished weapons on the employees and pushed Suresh and Vijayalakshmi behind the grill of the robust room and locked the principle door. They took the keys alongside whereas leaving the place with the booty. A couple of minutes later, a buyer, named Davidson, walked in and heard the employees screaming from behind the grill within the robust room. He alerted the police. The robust room was opened with one other key from the Anna Nagar department. The guard Saravanan was discovered mendacity on the terrace, gagged and his palms and legs tied. The burglars tied him up earlier than committing the crime. Suresh lodged a grievance with the Arumbakkam police. A case was registered below Sections 342 (punishment for wrongful confinement) and 397 (theft or dacoity with try and trigger dying or grievous damage), learn with 120 B (felony conspiracy), of the Indian Penal Code. The police mentioned 31.700 kg of gold jewelry, price over ₹15 crore, was looted by the trio who fled on two bikes.

Workers questioned

As particular police groups questioned the financial institution employees and gathered info, they concluded that Murugan was the principle perpetrator. He was one of many 4 who had deliberate the crime three years in the past on the tea store.

Better Chennai Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal mentioned, “The overall problem we face in any crime of this scale is to first find the accused. On this case, it was a bit straightforward for us, provided that considered one of them was an worker. We instantly profiled him and checked his social media accounts. His Instagram profile is filled with photos shot in a gymnasium. Instantly, we have now an anchoring level to launch into our investigation. The CCTV follow-up gave us an concept of the bodily options of the three burglars. Groups have been put collectively accordingly. Every crew was given particular person duties and particular person profiles. Household interrogation was dealt with by a separate crew. Some groups went to bus stops and railway stations, and all exit factors have been below our surveillance.”

The investigation, although, didn’t pan out in a linear trend, from identification to the arrest of the thieves. They have been a whole lot of twists and turns and an surprising revelation of the function of a policeman.

Trailing the thieves

After looting the financial institution, Murugan, M. Santhosh, 30, of Bharathi Nagar of Villivakkam, and V. Balaji, who sells plantain leaves, carried the jewelry on two bikes to Manapakkam. The trio had deliberate the heist, together with Surya Prakash, 28, an auto driver, on the tea store. At Manapakkam, Senthil Kumaran, 38, a sub-contractor of a number one housing firm, and Surya Prakash joined them. They left one bike behind and transferred the booty right into a automotive and a motorcycle. They proceeded to a lodge at Pallavaram the place they tried to soften the jewelry. Srivatsan, a gold smith, and his affiliate from Coimbatore Sriram introduced a small machine to soften the jewelry.

They tried to soften the gold in a lodge. As a whole lot of smoke got here out, they panicked and stopped. Solely 100-200 grams had been melted. Then they cut up. Santhosh took a significant portion of the booty in direction of Tiruvannamalai. Surya Prakash headed to Villupuram. He dumped his half (8.827 kg) in a bush close to the rail observe at Kundalapuliyur in Villupuram district.

Within the meantime, investigators questioned Murugan’s spouse. She spilled the beans. Precisely 24 hours later, Balaji, whose Yamaha bike was used for transporting the loot, was traced. A gold bracelet was recovered from him.

After a cellphone name evaluation, the police discovered that Santhosh had modified his SIM card and tried to name his contacts. Pings from the cellphone tower alerted the police to his presence close to Acharapakkam on a bus sure for Chennai. He was caught by a particular crew, led by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Anna Nagar, C. Vijayakumar, when he landed close to St. Thomas Mount at 3.40 p.m. Sunday. A complete of 15.951 kg of gold was recovered from him.

Santhosh had visited the home of his relative at Acharapakkam, the police discovered whereas analysing his name information. Throughout interrogation, he revealed that he had stayed on the home of Amalraj, a police inspector of Acharapakkam in Melmaruvathur, and left a portion of the loot with him. The spouse of the inspector handed it over to the investigation officer days later, saying their visitor will need to have left it behind by mistake.

It was on Thursday that the police revealed that Murugan had been arrested. They discovered 222 empty covers and 373 grams of gold on his individual. Surya Prakash was arrested with 8.827 kg and Senthil Kumaran was arrested with a couple of grams of gold, a jewel melting machine and a automotive. The subsequent day, Amalraj was arrested for receiving and concealing the gold figuring out properly that it was a part of the loot. One other two-and-a-half kg of gold jewelry was recovered from him. In complete, 6 kg of gold jewelry was recovered from him. Subsequently, goldsmith Srivatsan was arrested in Coimbatore for serving to the gang of their try and soften the gold.

Murugan’s spouse informed the police that on August 11, he had informed her that he would seemingly commit the crime and he or she needn’t fear about it and he would get away with it as a result of he was planning it out. He informed her that he knew how one can do away with the gold and nothing would occur to them. He had informed her that the police would get well half the loot; in the event that they did, they’d not go after him, and their household may transfer to Andhra Pradesh and reside prosperously with the remainder of the loot.

Mr. Vijayakumar, the Deputy Commissioner, mentioned, “The accused gave many contradictory statements initially. Later they confessed to their roles.”

Cops mentioned the accused thought that gold jewelry price ₹30 crore had been saved within the robust room and hoped that they might spend the cash from half of the booty on authorized bills and bribing the police and preserve the remainder. In the event that they surrendered in courtroom, they’d come out simply with the assistance of legal professionals by spending the cash from booty. They wished to get straightforward cash and have been satisfied that they might escape, the officers mentioned.

Extra Commissioner of Police T.S. Anbu mentioned, “We have now recovered all of the gold jewelry after an intensive investigation. The town police have accomplished the duty by arresting nearly all of the accused. Subsequent we are going to guarantee a fast trial.”

Insufficient programs

The police pointed to inadequacies within the safety system of banks within the metropolis. They mentioned banks and monetary establishments ought to comply with the rules issued by the Reserve Financial institution of India. Murugan knew how one can change off the alarm. It appears there had been a server concern in the course of the heist that brought on the delay in sending an alarm to the agency’s headquarters.

Mr. Jiwal mentioned, “The safety programs in such monetary establishments are weak. Banks and monetary establishments ought to have a correct safety system and security audit. We are going to flag the problem and demand that the safety programs be audited. Additionally, employees verification needs to be achieved correctly.”



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