Five-member inter-State gang preparing to strike arrested

Staff Correspondent

It was involved in murder, dacoity, robbery, theft cases: police

Weapons, including rods and machetes, recovered

The gang members belong to a tribe

MYSORE: The Mysore district police arrested a five-man inter-State gang allegedly involved in murder, assault, dacoity, robbery and theft cases in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, at Berya in KR Nagar taluk in the early hours of Tuesday.

The gang was arrested when it was planning to strike at a petrol pump in the village. Crude weapons such as iron rods, machetes, etc., have been recovered.

Acting on information about the gang’s activities in the district, the police had stepped up vigil and confirmed the gang’s presence at Berya. A team of personnel from KR Nagar and Saligrama police stations made the arrest, under the guidance of Superintendent of Police Rama Subba.

The gang members belong to Hakki-Pikki community, a tribe.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the gang had been involved in six murder cases, dacoity cases at six petrol pumps, a number of robberies and thefts in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The names of the arrested were given as Joy alias Soma (27) and Ananda, both residents of Hanagoodu village in Hunsur taluk, Basavaraj alias Kongadi (45) and Bijja alias Bijju (62), both residents of Nallur village in Davangere district and Keesa alias Borappa (18) of Panthbalakundri Tanda in Belgaum district. The arrested are all related to one another.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr. Rama Subba said the accused will be produced in court and their police custody will be sought for investigation. “We are yet to seize valuables from them as investigation has just begun,” he said.

The police official said the arrested have revealed that they had committed dacoity at petrol pumps located on the State Highway at Nelamangala near Bangalore, Belgaum and Bijapur; on the National Highway at Ananthpur, Kadapa, Nellore, Guntur and Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh.

“The arrested committed dacoity along with other gang members such as Yashagundu, Sandal, Shakiya, Lokeshi, Konga of Karnataka and Bhosleshyam, Bhosleagraja, Katli, Balaraju, Veeresha from Andhra Pradesh,” Mr. Rama Subba said.

Mr. Rama Subba said the arrested used to target petrol pumps located in isolated places, trucks parked in secluded places on the highways and also highway “dhabas”. They had also killed six people and stolen cash and valuables from them. Attendants of the petrol pumps were brutally assaulted by them, according to the police.

The gang members used to pitch tents in places and move around identifying their targets in the guise “hunters” of small mammals. They wore masks during a crime, the police said.

They had attacked seven truck drivers in Baramasagara police station limits in Chitradurga district. One of the truck drivers, Dundappa, died of injuries. They took away Rs. 70,000 in cash from a petrol pump in Belgaum district located on Kittur-Dharwad Road after assaulting attendant Bheemrao Deshpande. They killed a truck driver at a dhaba in Imangala village on the National Highway in Chitradurga district and made away with Rs 5,000 in cash from him.

The police said that the gang members killed two employees and assaulted two others of a petrol pump at Ramanathapura in Arkalgud taluk in Hassan district and took away Rs. 17,000 in cash and three watches from them.

They killed a truck driver and a cleaner when they were resting on the side of a National Highway near Sira in Tumkur district and stole a gold chain, watch and Rs 4,000 in cash from them, the police said.

The police have also learnt that the gang had robbed truck drivers of valuables at Nelamangala, Dobbspet, Dodda Aladamara, Kallambella, Hiriyur and Sira.

“Their arrest is expected to solve several cases reported in the State and Andhra Pradesh. The gang might have been operating since last the four or five years. More details on the gang are being collected,” Mr. Rama Subba said.