With Wednesday’s robbery of a huge cache of gold worth around Rs one crore, the police have been forced to take stock of the lax patrolling , especially in the narrow by-lanes of the city during night hours.

The waylaying of two gold merchants from Kerala in the early hours by miscreants who made off with a bag of jewellery on Sunnambukara Street has put the police on the back foot.

The gang involved in the nocturnal heist escaped with the loot in a car parked on the West Vadampokki Street, according to the complainant Vinod Kumar.

Team formed

Commissioner of Police Sanjay Mathur has formed many teams and his DCP (crime) Feroze Khan Abdullah is monitoring the progress of the investigation. “We are pursuing the case from inputs obtained from the complainant,” the officers said.

Investigations reveal that gold ornaments made in Thrissur were being brought to Madurai on a regular basis by merchants and agents. Some of the leading gold showroom dealers who have chain stores too received the yellow metal.

What baffled the police teams are that, on the same day, at least eight persons, who travelled in the same omni-bus from Kerala to Madurai, had carried gold ornaments just as Vinod Kumar had.

Two passengers among them, it has come to light, possessed six kilos, while the complainant had about five kilos.

According to their statements, the duo did not have accurate figures or accounts of the total gold brought by them, but maintained that around 300 grams of gold were “made to order” by customers, while the rest were samples to be shown to bullion merchants for procuring orders.

No finger print

Another officer said that they could not lift any finger prints from the auto rickshaw in which the robbers lay in wait.

According to the officer, the merchants had claimed that they had not insured the gold that was stolen.

However, when they travelled by flight to cities like Mumbai from Kerala, they adhered to the rules by declaring the gold ornaments.

Intensify checks

A senior officer admitted the need to intensify patrolling, especially in by-lanes, where police vehicles could not go.

Here, the department should introduce foot-patrolling as this would discourage potential offenders.

In the above case, if the four robbers, who were hiding in an auto rickshaw, had been noticed by a police patrol team, they may have left fearing trouble.

Private omni-bus operators should be instructed to screen the baggage at random so that the passengers would take a little more care to safely transport valuables.

In the case of non-cooperation, the bus operators should stop such passengers from travelling as it was unsafe for others as well.

As on flights, where the passengers are quizzed by airport authorities, this procedure should be considered by omni-bus operators.

Police plan to intensify patrolling especially in narrow by-lanes, writes

L. Srikrishna