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Navi Mumbai bank heist: Cops’ key suspect, the man who rented shop, died 2 months before crime

The police were on a wild goose chase trying to trace Gena Bachchan Prasad, who they suspected to be the main accused

mumbai Updated: Dec 06, 2017 14:48 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Bhawar Lal used the fake documents for the rent agreement.(Hindustan Times)

During the initial stage of their investigation of the Sanpada bank heist, the police were on a wild goose chase trying to trace and arrest Gena Bachchan Prasad, who they suspected was the mastermind. Now, it has emerged that the passport photo used in the rent agreement for the shop was that of 45-year-old Bhawar Lal, a native of Rajasthan. Lal, who was part of the plot, died of brain haemorrhage two months before the robbery.

“While making the rent agreement, Lal had identified himself as Gena Bachchan Prasad and submitted identity documents such as PAN and Aadhaar,” a police officer said, on condition of anonymity. Lal then handed over the shop to Hajid Mirja Baig, a key accused and Lal’s acquaintance.

READ: How a gang of burglars cleaned out 30 lockers at a Navi Mumbai bank

It is only later that the police realised the documents were fake. Despite this, the police kept hunting for him at different locations. After arresting a few of the accused, the police learned that the person in the photo that they had got from the agreement was actually Lal.

Police commissioner Hemant Nagrale rejected that an intelligence failure led to the heist. “Our officials can collect information from the city, but not from underground. The accused took six months to dig the tunnel. How should we get to know what was happening below the ground?” he said.

First Published: Dec 06, 2017 14:42 IST