33 years after they robbed Nuh businessman, 3 arrested from Uttar Pradesh
Thirty-three years after a gang of robbers killed a family member of a Nuh businessman in his house, the local police arrested three of them from Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
On August 30,1987, a group of 20 robbers had barged into the house of a businessman named Swami Ram, a resident of Punhana in Nuh, who ran a gold mortgage business. He was sleeping with his family members, when the gang entered his house through the rooftop and held all the members of the family hostage. The police said they robbed the family members of jewellery and cash and threatened them not to report the incident to the police. When one of the family members, 32-year-old Jagdish Chandra, tried to raise an alarm, the robbers shot him dead.
The police said while they were fleeing with the booty, the villagers, who heard the gunshot, surrounded the house and caught hold of three criminals, while others successfully managed to flee from the spot in a tractor.
A case was registered under sections 395 (punishment for dacoity), 396 (dacoity with murder) and 397 (robbery, or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code(IPC) and relevant sections of the Arms act at Punhana police station on August 30, 1987. The investigation in the case was never closed, said the police.
Narender Bijarnia, the superintendent of police (SP), Nuh, said that after he took charge on February 22, 2020, he started checking the list of proclaimed offenders and unsolved cases, following which he got the details of this 33-year-old case. “This was the biggest dacoity of that period and the gang members had robbed the family of nearly 200 kilograms of silver, gold, and more than ₹50 lakh cash. The victim’s family was the only family in the area that dealt in the business of gold mortgage. The businessman was famous and people from the neighbouring states of UP and Rajasthan also used to take loan from him,” he said.
The three criminals, who were caught from the spot, were handed over to the police and are presently serving life term in Bhondsi Jail, said the police.
Bijarnia said that after going through the files of the case, a team led by inspector Ajit Singh was formed. “There were hardly any leads in this case but with seven months of hard work, the case was solved,” said Bijarnia. He added that there were nearly 20 criminals who had barged into the house, although the exact number is not known. The police records, however, give the details of only 16 members of the gang.
“We questioned the people involved in the investigation and those lodged in jail. A team was sent to Bulandshahr and they got a tip-off that three or more people, who were involved in the dacoity and were the alleged masterminds, are living in their respective villages and are now well-known farmers of the area,” said Bijarnia.
The suspects were identified as Yaseen (70) of Sutari village, Manzoor Ahmad (68) of Sabdalpur and Babu (70) of Kahira village in Bulandshahr district. They were questioned separately and were arrested by the police.
While conducting investigation, the police found out that 10 criminals had died a natural death in the last few years and their family members were unaware of their alleged criminal background, whereas three of the suspects had bought land in their respective villages and had started farming, said the police.
Bijarnia said, on Monday, that the suspects were taken on a two-day police remand after being produced before the court. “They were not in touch with one another for the last 10 years and were living without any fear, thinking that the police must have closed the case. On January 6, 1988, 13 of them were declared proclaimed offender by the court. However, despite several efforts, the police could not find any clue and case remained pending,” he said.
The gang used to allegedly target families of businessmen and rob them of cash and jewellery. They used to travel by tractor to carry out robberies. They bought land with the robbed money, said the police.
Naresh Singla, 53, a member of the extended family of Swami Ram, said that he was 20-year-old when the incident took place. “That incident changed our lives forever as all the money the family had in its possession was robbed. We had to return the money to the villagers who had kept their gold jewellery as a mortgage in exchange for money. Our family was one of the richest in the area and we had to struggle for the next 30 years,” he said. Singla added that it was the biggest robbery in the area at that time but they are still unaware as to who was the real mastermind, and was there a role of an insider from the village in the incident.
With their arrest, the police are now hopeful of solving more unsolved criminal cases of Haryana, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.
Bijarnia said there were more than 100 such cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and loot that are yet to be solved and the team is now working on them. “We picked up long pending cases out of a sense of duty,” he said.