The Rs 9.16-crore Thane heist was part of a revenge plot allegedly hatched by two employees of a cash management firm, police said on Friday.
The details of the plot came to light after the arrest of six of the accused; 15 others are still at large.
The arrested were identified as Amol Arun Karle, 26; Mayur Rajendra Kadam alias Ajinkya, 21; Akash Chandrakant Chavan alias Chingya, 27; and Nitesh Bhagwan Ahwad, 22 from Thane; and Umesh Suresh Wagh, 28, and Harish Chand Uttam Mathe, 30, from Nashik.
“We have recovered Rs 3.12 crore from the six arrested, a few of whom have criminal backgrounds,” Thane police commissioner Param Bir Singh said.
The alleged masterminds of the robbery were close friends Chavan and Karle. Police said the robbery plot was hatched after Chavan was fired from Checkmate Service Private Limited in February over some disagreement.
“(Chavan) set his friend (Karle) up in the firm in March, following which they plotted the robbery for revenge and financial gain,” said a senior police inspector from Thane crime branch.
Karle passed on information about the firm and the time of arrival of the cash to Chingya. “They then planned to rob [the firm] on Tuesday morning before the cash was to be deposited in the banks,” he added.
On the day of robbery, Chingya led the team and planned its execution. He also decided the rendezvous point in Nashik for the gang to assemble after the heist.
As planned, eight masked men, armed with firearms and knives, attacked the office of Checkmate Private Service Ltd on Tuesday morning. When they didn’t find the money in the van parked outside, they stormed the office and made away with Rs 9.16 crore.
“After the robbery, the accused met in a village near Nashik and distributed the money, after which they left to their respective places,” N Kadam, an officer of the Thane Anti-Extortion Cell, said.
A police team is on the trail of the 15 people who are believed to have fled to other states after the heist.