Some of the gold ornaments and cash recovered in Dhanbad. Picture by Gautam Dey
Dhanbad, Feb. 5: Three persons were today arrested from Dhanbad in connection with the Rs 13-crore heist at the Muthoot Finance branch in Durgapur and 3kg of gold worth around Rs 84 lakh was recovered from them.
A police team from Dhanbad and Durgapur raided the home of Dasarath Mahato, one of the accused in the robbery, early today and arrested his wife Guria Devi, 30, brother-in-law Ajit Kumar Mahato, 30, and mother-in-law Tunia Devi, 57. The police said the trio were the “receivers” of the robbed items. Dasarath, however, was not found at home.
Dhanbad police chief Ravikant Dhan said: “The family (in Sadhobad village) had purchased several expensive articles in the past one or two days, arousing our suspicion. So we decided to raid the house.”
Dhanbad police said they contacted their counterparts in Durgapur and got information on the robbery.
The police said 3kg of gold (less than 10 per cent of the 36kg looted), Rs 4.04 lakh in cash, a country-made pistol and two live cartridges were found in the house. A TV set, a refrigerator, two LCD sets, six ceiling fans, two mixer-grinders and two music system sets were also seized from the arrested persons.
Dhanbad deputy superintendent of police R.N. Sharma said the booty was found in a pitcher kept buried under the earth in front of the house. “We dug up the soft earth and retrieved the jewellery and cash,” he said.
On Friday, a gang of eight had looted 36kg of gold from the Muthoot branch in Durgapur’s Benachity, 110km from Dhanbad.
The police said Muthoot Finance’s tagmark was on the recovered jewellery. “The seized currency notes had the signatures of employees at the Muthoot branch. The signatures were identified by the Muthoot officials who came with the police team from Durgapur that carried out the operation with us,” said Sharma.
Dhanbad police said Dasarath had been arrested two years ago in Jharkhand in connection with the theft of two motorcycles. “He is out on bail,” police superintendent Dhan said.
The police said that since his marriage in 2008, Dasarath had been living in his in-laws’ house. He constructed a house 50 metres from his in-laws’ home.
Dhan said the police were conducting raids to arrest Dasarath. “This is the biggest gold haul in Dhanbad. Raids are being conducted to arrest Dasarath Mahato,” he said.
“The remaining gold and cash may or may not be in Dhanbad. The others involved in the robbery may or may not be from Dhanbad. We can’t say anything more for the sake of investigations,” Dhan said.
The deputy commissioner of police of (east division), Durgapur, Sunil Yadav, who was part of the swoop , was not available for comment.
A police officer in Durgapur said: “We will hold a news conference tomorrow. We can’t say anything now.”