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Navi Mumbai bank robbery: 30-foot tunnel said to have been dug over a period of five months

Locals heard no sounds of digging nor spotted debris being cleared from near the Bank of Baroda in Sanpada, where the locker room was looted

mumbai Updated: Nov 14, 2017 09:48 IST
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan
Hindustan Times
Mumbai bank heist,Navi Mumbai bank robbery,Bank tunnel
The police suspect the culprits carried out work in the night and threw the debris in small quantities away from the bank.(BACHCHAN KUMAR)

Five months, a 30-ft-long tunnel and one smart heist – this is how the police summed up the break-in at Bank of Baroda’s Sanpada branch.

As the news spread on Monday morning, around 11.30am, a crowd started gathering in front of the bank. Several police vans reached the spot, only raising more questions on how, why and when. At some point, the police had to lock the main entrance of the bank to preserve forensic evidence.

By afternoon, it emerged that 30 lockers, with valuables worth Rs6 crore, were broken into over the weekend and the tunnel used for it was built over the past five months. Soon, the buzzword changed from bank robbery to a nondescript Shri Balaji general stores, the start of the tunnel that passed three shops to connect to the locker room.

Now came the questions. Everyone, from those worked at those shops to those who visited it, started jogging their memory for answers on whether they had seen anything suspicious over the past five months. Most were surprised that they didn’t hear any noise of digging or see debris being carried out of the shop.

Amol More, 37, an official of the agency that is adjacent to the general store, said: “Two people used to come to the shop for two to three hours a day. We never heard any noise from the store. We are shocked about how they did it so silently.”

The police suspect the culprits carried out the work in the night and threw the debris in small quantities away from the bank. For most, building a tunnel, almost like a “proper construction” five feet under the ground in a highly populated area, which is surrounded by banks and the resultant security, seemed unimaginable. “This is something we have never heard if. How could they go ahead with such an act in an area that witnesses constant police patrolling,” said Kunal Patil, 44, another resident of the area.

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 09:48 IST