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Sleuths off to fetch bank heist suspects

The city police on Thursday initiated the process of bringing two criminals, wanted in connection with a Rs 85-lakh robbery in Watgunge in 2003, to the city from Raipur.

The criminals, who are also suspects in other robberies in the city and elsewhere in the state, have been held in connection with a Rs 2.81-crore bank heist in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. A special team of the detective department has already left for Raipur to bring back the duo.

'The two ' Umesh Singh and Sunil Singh ' will be soon brought to the city. But a few of their accomplices are still at large,' said Peeyush Pandey, deputy commissioner of police (detective department).

More than a year after the robbery at the Central Bank of India in Watgunge on December 16, 2003, city police arrested three associates of Umesh, including a 29-year-old woman.

While Pappu Singh was held on Monday, Mukesh Singh and Sarita Singh were rounded up the next day.

After the news of the arrests spread, the district police and the CID sought permission to interrogate the suspects.

After interacting with Chhattisgarh police, the city sleuths learnt that a couple of years ago, Umesh had escaped from custody in Rourkela by paying a Rs 2-lakh bribe.

'While he was in lock-up, his associates chalked out a plan of escape and arranged for the money. On the day he was to be produced in court, Umesh bribed the policemen guarding him and fled from the court,' said an official of the detective department.

Umesh was re-arrested in mid-November by Chhattisgarh police in connection with a string of robberies, including the Raipur bank heist.

Interrogation of Pappu, Mukesh and Sarita has revealed that they were involved in robbing Rs 23 lakh from a cooperative bank in Chandrakona, Midnapore.

'The Midnapore robbery was committed on November 4, 2004. Though the trio has not confessed to this particular crime, we have evidence of their involvement,' said a detective department official.

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