A day after Home Minister Jayant Patil announced the handing over of the airport heist case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), a police source told Hindustan Times the airport police were close to cracking the case.
On May 25, four-armed men breached the high-security domestic airport and entered the Air India cargo and robbed gold and silver coins worth over Rs 35 lakh.
The consignment was for Pidilite Industries Limited in Hyderabad.
A senior police officer involved in the probe said the heist was the handiwork of a “highly professional” gang of seven to eight people having a past record of similar offences.
“The accused have been identified. They will be arrested at the appropriate moment,” the officer said requesting anonymity as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
The source said the accused had closely studied the movements at the cargo bay over several days and had rehearsed the operation before carrying out the heist.
“They were keeping an eye on the consignments going out from the National Refineries Limited (NRL) for a long time,” he said.
The NRL is into the business of processing of gold and silver products, as per the needs of their clients.
“The accused were so clinical in their operation that they knew precisely where to get hold of the coins, how to get past the police posts and nakabandis and where to hide the coins so that it remains safe and away from the eyes of the police,” the officer said.
The police have accepted that the recovery of the valuables will be a tough process and are, therefore, acting very cautiously. The investigators had to take the help of scores of informers to zero in on the accused who have holed themselves up outside the city and like expert criminals are frequently changing their hideouts. Some of them have even changed their appearances, the officials added.
Additional Commissioner of Police (West region) Amitabh Gupta refused comment.