It went to West Bengal to probe Tirupur jewellery showroom heist

A special team of the Tamil Nadu police that went to West Bengal as part of the probe in the Tirupur jewellery showroom heist case was detained for more than a day by the police there, after the mysterious death of an informant early on Tuesday, police sources said.

However, they were freed after some of them were produced in court and granted bail.

Initially, there was no sign of the team's release for more than 24 hours. Senior officials of Tamil Nadu took up the matter with their counterparts in West Bengal.

On Wednesday, a Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Inspector were freed. But a case under Section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code (causing death due to negligence) was booked against another Inspector and three constables. They were produced in a court and released on bail, the sources said. The team is expected to return to Tamil Nadu with the arrested suspects.

The team went to West Bengal on a tip-off that suspects in the heist at Anto Alukkas Jewellery showroom were located there. With the assistance of a couple of local informants, the team apprehended three suspects of Murshidabad district. Admitting to their involvement, the trio indicated that the others involved in the case, mostly natives of Jharkhand's Sahibganj district, might have smuggled the booty to Bangladesh.

The team, comprising a Deputy Superintendent of Police, two Inspectors and three constables, produced the suspects in a court and got a transit warrant. As they waited at the Farakka railway station to board a train to Chennai around 2 a.m. on Tuesday, the local police came there, claiming that one of the informants, whose name was given as Bakul Sheikh, had died of a head injury.

“Claiming that the relatives of the victim might turn up at the railway station anytime and create a law and order problem, the Inspector of the local police station took the team, along with the accused persons, in his vehicle, promising to drop them in the next railway station. But they were taken to the nearest police station and detained there,” a police official told The Hindu.

Suspecting a foul play in the death of the informant, whose body was found in a ditch, the West Bengal police took steps to register a case under Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) against the team members. While Director-General of Police K. Ramanujam took up the issue with his West Bengal counterpart, Deputy Inspector-General H.M. Jayaram rushed there.

After an investigation revealed that the informant died because of an accidental fall, a case was registered against an Inspector and three others under Section 304 (A). The allegation was that the team chased him, causing him to fall into a ditch. “Why would we chase an informant who helped us by giving crucial inputs about accused persons in this case? He had also promised to provide more information on the booty that is worth more than Rs. 10 crore. The death of the informant has to be probed by an independent agency,” the official said.

Additional Director-General of Police (Law and Order) S. George said the investigation in the burglary case would continue. Senior officials were camping in West Bengal and steps would be taken to arrest others involved in the offence and recover the property.