It seemed like a sequence out of a movie — ‘Diamond jewellery worth Rs 14-cr looted it broad daylight from the heart of Chandigarh’! That was on May 1. Things unraveled soon enough to show how the entire episode was, as police said, stage-managed by the store owners in a bid to claim insurance money. One of them, Vinod Verma, was arrested on Tuesday, while the other, his brother Rajneesh Verma, remains out of the cops’ net.
With every passing day, though, a number of interesting details are spilling out.
‘Robbers’ fled with empty bags!
The purported robbers – two men and a woman – seen in the CCTV footage are yet to be nabbed. The police claimed that the robbers actually fled with empty bags.
Jewellery worth Rs 2 cr shifted two days before
SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill said the owners had taken jewellery worth Rs 2 crore – the only stock left with them – on Friday, two days before the May 1 ‘dacoity’. Of this, Rs 65-lakh jewellery was given to Sekhar, a partner of Vinod in another firm – Fairdeal Enterprises. The SSP said Sekhar came forward to hand over the jewellery to the police after he learnt of the case. The SSP added that a fake Rs 5.5-crore jewellery bill had been recovered in the name of Fairdeal Enterprises that seemed to be a fake company.
Fake bill nailed lie
The police said that the Vinod had procured a back-dated (April 14) bill for Rs 2.5 crore from Sidharth Jewellers in Sector 37 after the ‘robbery’. This proved to be the key clue.
Why were owners under suspicion
During scrutiny of call details of the owners, inspectors Gurmukh Singh and Ranjit Singh zeroed in on the fact that the Vermas had sent their computer to an expert a day before the robbery for deletion of all business data. The expert has given a statement to the police to this effect.
Spot verification didn’t match claims
The owners claimed that the showroom was looted at 12:06 pm on Sunday, but the shop seemed clean with no sign that anything had been put in a bag in a hurry. The fact that the owners did not call the police even as the robbers left their phones with them was also suspicious.
Employees blew the lid
The SSP added that store manager Ajay Kumar, a resident of Sector 47, was the main whistleblower, who had recorded his statement under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in which he had deposed that Vinod Verma arranged the robbers. Charu and Sarita corroborated Ajay’s statement.