Gold stickups work of old muggers?
The gold and cash robberies in the state capital and adjoining areas have made police suspect hand of old gangs, going by the failsafe modus operandii adopted by them.
All the three incidents reported in Lucknow and Barabanki have some common links. All of them were committed after a proper recce and the robbers made sure no traceable clues were left for the police to smell them out to their hideouts.
The robbers executed the crime with proper planning to ensure minimum risk - in the Muthoot Finance case, the robbers had taken away digital video recording system (DVRS) to keep the police guessing.
An STF top official says, “This shows the robberies are being committed by experienced hands. We are ready with three sketches. Soon there will be catches.” In fact, the police and investigating agencies have already begun tracking the locations and whereabouts of the gangs whose names had figured in earlier loots.
“We are trying to zero in on such gangs which targeted jewellers, gold stores, banks and finance agencies in the city during the past four-five years,” says the STF official.
Many of them had been arrested and had remained in jail for a long time. He says, “The old gangs would be in urgent need of money now after spending 2-3 years in jail. We are focusing on collecting details about the released criminals. Their mobile phones are under surveillance.”
“In Muthoot finance company robbery, the robbers posed themselves as first timers. But, the entire execution suggests they have experienced criminal mind behind it.” He said similar things were apprehended in Naka and Barabanki loots where criminals had specific details about their target and executed the crime very smartly.
The gang of dreaded criminal Laliteshwar Pandey is on top of the hunt list. “Pandey is in jail after he was arrested in Rs. 9 lakh loot outside Chintel’s house on station road in 2010 but his main associates are out on bail,” a source says.
He says there are specific inputs that Pandey was in an urgent need of money to pursue his cases in court and he was in touch with his associates, who frequently met him on court dates. Pandey’s gang has committed several gold and jewellery loots in the past, he says.
Similarly, Mahesh Rajput gang, which was involved in the sensational gold jewelleries loot in Unnao four years ago, is also on the list. Rajput is out on bail and he was found to have visited places in Lucknow and Kanpur during the past few days. Another name is Nandu and Mukesh gang, which is a breakaway of the Laliteshwar Pandey gang. Three gangs are of Manoj Pattu, Pilla and Kallu Pahadi.
Pattu and his associate Nishi Sharma have recently been out on bail after they were arrested in connection with a robbery at a jewellery showroom in Allahabad in 2010. Pilla too is out after spending three years in jail.
Kallu Pahadi, however, has been evading arrest for long. His gang has surfaced in several incidents of major thefts in Lucknow during the past three years.