The May 25, 2009 heist of gold and silver coins worth Rs 47 lakh from the domestic airport’s cargo complex has finally been solved. Three men, one of whom had complete access to the facility, have been arrested.
While trying to flee, the thieves had run over a watchman, killing him in the process.
Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said Suresh Kamble, 27, Rajendra Yellana, 23, and Vijendra Kamble, 26, were arrested by Unit 8 of the Crime Branch for the robbery and murder.
The consignment of coins was sent by National Refinery, a gold refining unit in Mumbai, to Pidilite Industries in Hyderabad. Just as the coins were packed into six boxes and deposited at the cargo counter by National Refinery employee Dilip Borkar, two men brandishing revolvers and wearing masks rushed up to him. Borkar collapsed after one of the men hit him with the butt of a revolver.
The duo then piled the boxes into a white Indigo in which two accomplices were waiting.
As the car picked up speed, SD Bhosale, an off-duty Air India security guard, rushed to the gate to close it but was run over. Bhosale, who sustained grievous injuries, died later.
The Crime Branch stumbled upon the three accused while investigating a murder that took place at Sahar in August this year. “On August 18, Bhoor Singh Solanki, a scrap dealer, was found murdered at his shop. Investigations showed Solanki used to buy stolen property and sell it. As there was no signs of forced entry at his shop, we figured Solanki was killed by someone he knew,” Roy said.
As they tried to identify possible suspects, the police were informed about Suresh, who allegedly used to steal goods and sell them to Solanki.
It was Suresh’s lavish lifestyle that first put him on the police radar. “We learnt that at times he spent Rs 30,000-Rs 40,000 in a single night,” Roy said. In order to finance this lifestyle, Suresh decided to rob Solanki. He knew Solanki used to pay for stolen goods in cash and that he always kept a sizeable amount with him.
Roy said Suresh used to work for AR Aviation, which handled lost and misplaced luggage for airlines. “He knew the cargo complex in and out and he also knew what cargo was scheduled to arrive,” Roy said.
Police teams, during a search of Suresh’s residence, found boxes that looked like the ones stolen from the airport. Investigations showed that Suresh, using his access to the cargo complex, teamed up with Yellana and Vijendra to steal the coins.
Police recovered two toy pistols, two country-made guns, four cartridges, a knife and equipment used to melt the gold and silver coins and give them a new shape.
Roy said the team led by Senior Inspector Sardar Patil and Inspector Jyotsna Rasam is now looking for another suspect.