THANE: In an overnight operation beginning on Wednesday , 15 members of a notorious gang involved in spectacular thefts from gold finance companies in the past were waylaid, chased and arrested by the Thane crime branch. The police said the arrests have prevented three planned thefts in Thane district.
“A week ago, the police were tipped off that the gang was planning to strike in Uttarakhand, but when nothing happened there, we learnt that the target was the Naupada branch of Muthoot gold finance company and two jewellers at Mira Road and Boisar,” said Thane police commissioner Param Bir Singh.
An officer said that after their arrival on the scene, most of the gang members went under the guise of mango sellers and took a shop on rent near the targeted branch to do a recce. They already had planted a security guard at the target as a decoy.After the police learnt of their movements, they kept tabs on their cellphones and started intercepting calls.
On Wednesday evening, the police learnt of one Dashrath Bahadursingh (18) whom the gang had deployed at Arihant Jeweller, Mira Road. His movements started being followed. “He was in touch with all the others on phone. The plan was to first target Muthoot and then Arihant,” said an officer. The trail of calls led to the gang members one by one. The police split up in two teams.The first arrest was of Abdul Shaikh (29) from Chenna Village, Ghodbunder Road, followed by Umar Shaikh (25).”We arrested the others after they made phone calls to these two,” said a cop. Rajkumar Sharma (44) and Tapal Mandal (40) were caught at Teen Hath Naka.
They were with knives sand screw drivers. “They led us to Dinesh Gupta (29), Bhaddu Mandal (40) and Babu Mujawar (32), who were at Vasant Vihar.Mujawar was given a chase for about 50 metres. He entered a housing society and disappeared. Our sub-inspector, Shivraj Bendre, spotted him under a car, from where he was pulled out,” said an officer.
The next to be nabbed was Raju Yadav (40). At last, the focus shifted to Bahadursingh, who in the meantime had made over 40 calls to Shaikh. “We told Shaikh to somehow keep him waiting by giving him reasons like heavy traffic. He was picked up at Mira Road.”
The gang is the same one connected to the December 2016 Muthoot heist in Hyderabad, in which 77kg of gold was stolen. Singh said the stringent MCOCA law will probably be slapped on the gang.