Cash van driver Dominic Selvaraj Roy was perhaps the country’s richest man with the biggest stash of valid banknotes after he looted `92 lakh last week from the vehicle he was hired to drive.
But it took him hardly five days to become the pauper that he was, and a criminal too after he pulled off one of Karnataka’s biggest heists on November 23.
Dominic was arrested on Tuesday, a day after wife Evelyn was caught with `79.8 lakh stuffed inside a bundle of bags. She had planned to turn herself in after consulting a lawyer.
What happened between 43-year-old Dominic fleeing with a van-full of cash — `1.37 crore — to replenish ATMs in India’s IT hub and his eventual arrest? Thereby hangs a tale.
Dominic abandoned the van at a secluded place, took the heavy cash boxes in a three-wheeler to a shop where he used a hammer to break them open, and hurriedly shoved the money into bags.
Strangely, a migrant labourer, who doesn’t speak the local Kannada language, was manning the shop. Police suspect he was either an accomplice or decided to keep quiet. He is on the run.
Dominic then took an autorickshaw and reached home, where Evelyn was waiting with their luggage ready.
Police recovered the vehicle the next day with `45 lakh that Dominic left behind. By then, the driver who joined Logicash Solutions on November 1, his wife and their 12-year-old son were on their way to Vellore en route to Chennai in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Before leaving, Evelyn cleaned the house completely, leaving little trace that they lived there. The couple destroyed their mobile phone SIM cards on the way to the bus station. In Vellore, they checked into a lodge.
They kept changing their location frequently to keep police off their trail. From Vellore, they went to Chennai, and to Coimbatore, and to Thrissur in Kerala, and then to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. They were back in Bengaluru in less than a week, after travelling more than 2,100km, covering three southern states.
They finally gave in because none of their relatives were willing to take them in.
“On their way to Coimbatore, Dominic called Evelyn’s uncle in Vijayawada from a cellphone of a fellow train passenger. The uncle admonished him and said he will not allow him in his house,” deputy commissioner of police (West) MN Anucheth said.
Police were on the hunt too, tracking them through phone calls of Evelyn’s Dubai-based mother.
Dominic and Evelyn were not the typical con couple, but their planning and execution of the heist were stuff straight out of a Bollywood scriptwriter’s notebook. No doubt, people dubbed them Bunty and Babli of Bengaluru, after the 2005 crime-comedy.
The couple had a twist in the tale till the very end.
Dominic paid off debts with more than `12 lakh he had set aside from the booty. “He apparently paid back loans in Bengaluru and money taken from a relative in Chennai,” Anucheth said, summing up the unaccounted for cash from the loot that includes hotel and travel expenses of the couple.
Dominic was arrested in Bengaluru without a penny.