Five of 13 suspects held, robbery was planned in Mumbai jail

The Bangalore police arrested five of the 13-member gang that had looted Rs. 1.91 crore cash from a multi-utility vehicle (MUV) belonging to CMS Securitas Ltd. in R.T. Nagar on May 14. The police recovered Rs. 32.15 lakh cash and gold ornaments cash from the arrested.

Armed men, who had come in two vehicles, had intercepted the MUV near the BSNL Exchange in 2nd Block, R.T. Nagar, attacked two staff of CMS and a security guard with choppers and made away with the cash boxes.

Commissioner of Police B.G. Jyothiprakash Miriji told presspersons here on Thursday that the gang members were from Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. When they were doing time in Mumbai's Arthur Road prison, the five arrested men and their associates had hatched the heist plan.

After their release from the jail, the accused had stayed in R.T. Nagar for nearly six months and closely observed the movement of CMS vehicles and the manner in which the staff transported and loaded the cash into ATMs. The gang had committed similar offences in Mumbai, Gujarat and Mulki near Mangalore during 2005-08, he said.

Staff's role

To a query, Mr. Mirji said the police were investigating whether the staff of CMS, which provides ATM cash replenishment and cash deposit services to banks, had connived with the robbers. In fact they did come under the scanner after the heist as instead of the usual vehicle with steel mesh, they had reportedly hired one from a travel agency.

Moreover, they had also changed the regular route that day.

The police gave the names of the arrested as G. Ahmed Sheik of Mumbai, Karunakar alias Ravikanth Poojary of Daman, Mahesh (30) of Somwarpet in Kodagu district and Jayaprakash and Santosh, both from Belathangady taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.

Special teams had visited Gujarat, Daman, Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad during the past month to collect information on the suspects. The police had studied similar crimes reported in these places before zeroing on the arrested men, Mr. Mirji said.

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