The Thampanoor police on Monday arrested a 45-year-old woman in connection with the theft of several lakhs of rupees from a fuel outlet where she was employed as manager since 2011. Circle Inspector Sheen Tharayil identified the accused as Valasala, 45.

The owner of the outlet had complained to the police last week that the cash vault had been set on fire, destroying currency notes of Rs. 3 lakh.

The police learnt that only the owner and Valsala possessed the keys to open the safe. Forensic experts told the police that the ash found inside the safe was not from the burning of Indian currency notes but ordinary newspaper sheets.

Moreover, there had been no fire inside the safe and somebody had deposited the ash in the safe. The police confronted Valsala with the evidence. They learnt that she had deposited Rs 3 lakh in lieu of an overdraft taken earlier from a nearby bank, where the fuel outlet owner maintained his depot’s account.

Quoting her statement, Mr. Sheen said Valsala had used the overdraft to clear her debts and deposited the sales proceeds in the bank to make up for it. She later put the ashes into the safe to make it appear as if the sale proceeds had gone up in smoke. The suspect was produced before the court on the charge of theft and remanded in judicial custody for a period of 14 days.