Diamond heist cracked, Interpol help sought | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Diamond heist cracked, Interpol help sought

mumbai Updated: Aug 24, 2010 11:15 IST

IANS
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The daring diamond heist of over Rs 6.6 crore from the India International Jewellery Show-2010 in Mumbai was the handiwork of three Mexican nationals who have fled to Dubai, police said, adding that help had been sought from Interpol to nab them.

The case was cracked after studying the CCTV footage and checking visitor records of the jewellery show and the records of the immigration offices at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, a police official said.

Police said that the crime branch is now probing the case and help is being sought from the Interpol, the Indian embassies in Dubai and Mexico in an attempt to bring the culprits to book.

Attempts are also being made to trace their onward movements from Dubai to any other location with the help of Interpol, the official said.

The three culprits, including a woman accomplice are Mexican nationals, said Vasant Mehta, president of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC).

"Unfortunately, they went from the Bombay Exhibition Centre straight to the Sahar international airport, and escaped unnoticed on a flight to Dubai," Mehta told IANS.

From Goregaon east, the venue of the jewellery show, the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar is barely a 15-minute drive.

In a crime straight out of a movie, diamonds weighing 88,999 carats and worth over Rs 6.6 crore were stolen from a stall at the India International Jewellery Show that concluded in Mumbai on Monday evening.

According to Additional Police Commissioner (north region) Ramrao Pawar, the incident came to light when the stall exhibitors were packing up after the five-day expo ended here around 6 pm on Monday.

"The complainant, an Israeli national, stated that five unidentified foreign nationals had visited his stall some time this (Monday) afternoon. Later, a couple of them managed to divert his attention and the robbery took place," Pawar told IANS on Monday night.

Initially, the diamond merchant brought the matter to the notice of the Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and its office bearers, who suggested he should lodge a police complaint.

Mehta said the CCTV footage clearly shows the culprits diverting the attention of the stall attendant, picking up the box containing the diamonds and walking out of the main exit uninterrupted.

"It is a well-planned, professional con job," said Mehta.

The police swung into action after Israeli national Guy Ezekeil Vaz, a sales manager with Dalumin Co of Hong Kong, lodged a complaint late Monday over the theft of a box containing the valuable diamonds worth over Rs 6.6 crore.

Vaz's complaint to police followed his complaint to the expo organizers over the incident. For more than two hours the expo organizers had sealed all entry-exit points but the culprits had already made good their escape.

The trio escaped with the booty bypassing several levels of security, including Mumbai Police, private security, security paraphernalia like metal detectors, electronic swiping of entry cards, CCTVs, prompting one of the organisers to suggest "insider help".

The India International Jewellery Show is considered the third largest international diamond and jewellery exhibition in the world, attracting participation from 800 companies around the world. A total 1,900 stalls were put up and over 2 lakh people visited the expo since it opened Aug 19.

The diamond heist has shocked both the law enforcers and the expo organisers who have claimed a spotless track record for the event since the past 27 years.