Spate of robberies by migrants in Chennai tax police

‘Perpetrators arrive as labourers or vendors, carry out a recce of targets by day, loot and flee on north-bound trains’

October 06, 2019 12:58 am | Updated 12:58 am IST

Nathuram, an accused in the Kolathur burglary case of 2017, being taken into custody.

Nathuram, an accused in the Kolathur burglary case of 2017, being taken into custody.

A spate of burglaries involving suspects from north India have been challenging police personnel in the State. In recent days, more sensational cases of burglaries have been reported and solved by the police.

“It is a challenge to control them. They arrive as students or labourers or sellers of cloth or ice cream. After carrying out a recce in the day time, they enter their target location, either a bank or a house. After looting the premises, they flee with the booty in trains bound for north India,” said a senior police officer of the city.

Two years ago, the city police lost an inspector, S. Periapandian, who was shot dead while nabbing accused Nathuram and his associates in Rajasthan. Nathuram and his gang rented the upper portion of a building to drill a hole through the first floor of a jewellery store in Kolathur, and escaped with 3.5 kg of gold on November 16, 2017.

Subsequent events led to the case becoming sensational. The police were able to nab him and his gang after searching for two months in Gujarat.

Another burglary was reported from Indian Overseas Bank in Virugambakkam in March, 2018 wherein two Nepalese suspects and six others from a north Indian State drilled a hole using gas cutters and decamped with 100 sovereigns of gold jewellery kept in a safe. The police managed to nab them after a week in Bengaluru.

No proper records

An Inspector General of Police, said, “We believe most of these offences are committed by the migrant population. They join any educational institution as students, or roam around as labourers, or as workers in any other unorganised sector. No authorities maintain proper records of their movement.”

“The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act should be effectively implemented. We are facing a big problem now from the migrant population, as some of them continue to indulge in criminal activities such burglary, theft and other offences,” he added. The sensational heist on the Salem-Chennai Egmore Express in 2016, which captured public attention, was cracked only two years later — a Pardi gang of 16 members from Madhya Pradesh had camped near the railway station and conducted a recce.

They climbed the running train near Virudhachalam and, using gas cutters, drilled a hole to loot currency worth ₹5.78 crore.

Tech, coordination

Similar burglaries have been committed regularly by a gang from north India. On September 22, the city police cracked the Nanganallur house robbery case, in which 120 sovereigns of gold and diamond jewels were burgled from a businessman’s house, by arresting a 10-member ‘Bagri’ gang in Ujjain, with the help of the Madhya Pradesh Police.

Technology and coordination with counterparts in other States helped a special team of the City Police crack the Nanganallur burglary case within 24 hours, and nab 10 suspects belonging to a gang from Rajasthan.

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