With the arrest of 18 persons, including two women, the Madhya Pradesh Police have busted a gang of Bangladeshi dacoits operating in Madhya Pradesh and nearby states.
The gang members are suspected to have been trained by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan before being pushed into the country.
"We have concrete information that the gang members had links with the ISI and other outside intelligence agencies.
The kingpins, who provided training to their subordinates in Kolkata, were initially skilled for the job in Bangladesh and then pushed into the country", said a police official on condition of anonymity.
"The gang members are suspected to have gone to places like Jaipur, Chandigarh and Amritsar and had committed crime there", he said, adding that "further investigations continuing".
The gang committed half-a-dozen dacoities in Bhopal in July this year.
Police achieved a major breakthrough when they arrested a gang member from Dewas town on October 18, and on a tip-off by him nabbed three of his accomplices from Bhopal railway station area, where they had rented accommodation.
"On further investigations, the Bhopal police launched an operation with the help of Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh police. About 25,000 telephone numbers were traced and hundreds of people questioned", Deputy Inspector-General (Bhopal range) Anuradha Shankar said.
The police also arrested the gang's kingpin Fatima from Delhi Railway Station from where she coordinated the activities of the gang. Her accomplice Jaleel was nabbed simultaneously.
"After the dacoities, jewellery and other material were converted into cash which was dispatched to Bangladesh through hawala," Shankar said. Jewellery worth lakhs and more than Rs 80,000 in cash were seized from their possession.
Fatima was also arrested in Delhi in 2003 along with her accomplices for dacoities in Nand Nagri locality and handed over to the Bangladesh police, Shankar said, adding that the culprits had sneaked back into the country.
Explaining the modus operandi of the gang, the police officer said, "While the female members of the gang were used for collecting information, the male members carried out the crime and left the area immediately and moved back to Kolkata or even to Bangladesh for sometime."
The whereabouts of five members of the gang, suspected to have gone to Bangladesh, have been ascertained and steps are being taken to extradite them to India, Shankar said.