With the arrest of two more persons and recovery of Rs.2.37 crore, the Delhi Police on Sunday claimed to have cracked the sensational daylight heist in the upmarket Defence Colony area within 28 hours.

The main accused, now in judicial custody, has been identified as Deepak Sharma (34), the younger brother of prime accused Hari Kishan who is suspected to have masterminded the robbery along with his gang members. Deepak was arrested on Saturday after the police traced his brother’s residence to Pushp Vihar from where they later recovered Rs.1.51 crore, a 9 mm pistol, two magazines, five 9 mm and four .32 bore cartridges besides a mobile phone.

At his instance, the police identified the four other alleged partners in crime, including his brother Hari Kishan, Vijay, Yogesh and Rajneet. They have also arrested Vijay’s relatives Tekram and Mukesh, said to be residents of neighbouring Gurgaon, for allegedly receiving a part of the stolen cash, which was also recovered from their houses.

While raids are being mounted for the other suspects, the police are also trying to determine whether any insider had tipped off the gang.

Joint Commissioner of Police Vivek Gogia said the crucial lead in the case was provided by eyewitnesses (names withheld) who shared with the investigators a vivid description of the criminals they saw intercepting the cash van carrying Rs.5.25 crore in the service lane of the D-Block of Defence Colony at 1-10 p.m. on Friday. Initially taking it to be a quarrel among two groups, a witness alerted the police control room at 1-13 p.m.

The witnesses saw one of the robbers pushing security guard Munne Singh to the ground and pumping a bullet into his chest after he tried to catch hold of the criminal’s firearm. The robbers then forced the other three van occupants out, reversed the vehicle and drove away leaving behind their car on the spot.

A couple of hours later, the van carrying weapons of the two guards was found abandoned in Khirki Gaon, close to its extended locality Hauz Rani. Seven teams each headed by an inspector under the supervision of the Assistant, Additional and Deputy Commissioners of Police were formed.

Suspecting that the criminals could be well acquainted with the topography of the area, the police activated their local sources. “Based on the eyewitness’ description, a portrait was developed and it matched with one of the suspects. Investigations revealed that the Hyundai Verna used by the criminals had been stolen from Faridabad in Haryana (on July 5),” said Mr. Gogia.

Local informers told the police that the car and four young men of the descriptions provided by the victims had been spotted in Hauz Rani during the past few days. They zeroed in on a house, which according to locals was recently bought by Hari Kishan in the name of his wife. The next morning five teams swooped down on the house where they purportedly found keys of the cash van, a Radio Taxi. Some documents revealing that the criminals had stayed there were also found. The police also recovered the missing cash boxes not far from the house.

The breakthrough came when dossiers of Hari Kishan and his accomplices were shown to the victims and eyewitnesses who identified some of them confirming the involvement of the same gang. The police then traced Hari Krishan’s Pushp Vihar house and arrested Hari Kishan’s brother Deepak who led them to the two alleged receivers of stolen cash.