Arrests in Lalithaa Jewellery heist helped in cracking PNB robbery: Tamil Nadu police
Radhakrishnan was nabbed on Monday, within days of the arrest of three men in the multi-crore heist at Lalithaa Jewellery showroom in Trichy on October 2.Updated: Oct 15, 2019 09:34 IST
Police in Tamil Nadu’s Trichy said they have cracked the robbery at a branch of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) in January on the city’s outskirts by arresting a 28-year-old man, a close relative of one of the accused held in connection with the Lalithaa Jewellery heist.
Radhakrishnan was nabbed on Monday, within days of the arrest of three men in the multi-crore heist at Lalithaa Jewellery showroom in Trichy on October 2.
Police said Radhakrishnan had helped three men, also involved in the Lalithaa Jewellery heist, including mastermind Murugan, steal 470 sovereigns (1 sovereign = 8 grams of gold) of gold jewellery and Rs 19 lakh in cash from the PNB branch at the temple town of Samayapuram near Trichy.
Radhakrishnan told the police during questioning how the PNB heist on January 28 was carried out and that Murugan was the mastermind, according to officials.
“The accused, Radhakrishnan, is a gas cutter working at Thiruverumbur town in Trichy but hailing from Sengipatti in neighbouring Thanjavur district. It was he who had drilled the wall of the bank, using a gas cylinder and gas cutter,” Trichy’s superintendent of police Zia Ul Haq said while speaking with reporters.
Haq said he was arrested from Kannapatti village on the foothills of Kodaikanal in Dindigul district, where he was hiding along with his wife.
“He was part of a four-member gang that carried out the crime and after the dacoity had left his native place and settled in Kannapatti. The gang comprised Murugan and his accomplices P Suresh and C Ganesan—all arrested in the Lalithaa Jewellery case. The latter is a close relative of Radhakrishnan,” the SP added.
Police maintained that Radhakrishnan was arrested because of the painstaking efforts four special teams formed to nab the culprits involved in the PNB case.
Haq said before the heist at PNB, the gang had also made unsuccessful attempts at robbing the Indian Overseas Bank branch at Uppiliapuram, a Kerala-based private finance company at Samayapuram, and a co-operative bank at Mannachanallur, all in Trichy district in January.
“The modus operandi was similar in all of them and also in the last one at Lalithaa Jewellery. The gang had left the gas cylinder and cutter at the PNB branch. The cylinder was secured from Thiruverumbur and the cutter had the mark of a firm in Madurai,” Haq explained.
“The special teams questioned about 300 persons working as gas cutters and that was how we zeroed in on the accused. Then, we inquired at the firm in Madurai, where scrutiny of CCTV footage helped identify Radhakrishnan. During our inquiry at Sengipatti, locals said that he had not turned up since January and was staying somewhere near Dindigul,” he said.
“We are in the process of recovering the stolen jewels. We would accomplish it very soon,” the SP asserted, without giving a time frame.
Police have arrested four people so far in connection with the Lalilthaa Jewellery case and two have surrendered before courts. So far, police have retrieved jewellery worth Rs 8.36 crore out of the stolen jewellery valued at Rs 13 crore.
Ganesan was arrested from Vadipatti near Madurai on Sunday and police recovered 6.1kg of gold jewels from him, which was his share of the loot from Lalithaa Jewellery showroom.
Murugan, who has over 75 cases of robbery registered in various southern states against him, surrendered at a Bengaluru court last Friday. The resident of Thiruvarur has been remanded to judicial custody.
Karnataka police and their Trichy counterparts have found jewels worth Rs 4.25 crore from the Cauvery riverbed at Poosathurai village near Trichy on his information. This was in addition to the jewels recovered from Ganesan.