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Gold booty traced to Dhanbad

Dhanbad, Feb. 5: Three persons were arrested from Dhanbad and 3kg gold worth over Rs 92 lakh was recovered from them with police confirming that the booty was part of a Rs 13-crore gold heist pulled off at a Muthoot Finance branch in Durgapur last week.

A police team from Dhanbad and Durgapur raided the home of Dasarath Mahto, one of the accused in the heist, early today and arrested his wife Guria Devi, 30, brother-in-law Ajit Kumar Mahto, 30, and mother-in-law Tunia Devi (57).

The police said the trio were the “receivers” of the robbed items. Dasarath, however, wasn’t found at home.

Dhanbad SP Ravikant Dhan said: “This is the largest ever gold haul in Dhanbad. The family (in Sadhobad village) had bought 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 gold, worth approximately Rs 92.22 lakh, a country-made pistol, two live cartridges and Rs 4.04 lakh in cash were found in the house. A TV set, a refrigerator, two LCD sets, six ceiling fans, two mixer-grinders and two music systems were also seized from the arrested persons.

Dhanbad DSP R.N. Sharma said the booty was found in a pitcher kept under the soil 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 robbers had looted 36kg gold from the Muthoot branch in Durgapur’s Benachity, 15km 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 Muthoot officials who came with the police team from Durgapur that carried out the operation with us,” said DSP Sharma.

Dhanbad police said Dasarath had been arrested two years ago in Jharkhand for 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 had constructed a house 50 metres from his in-laws’ home.

Dhan said the police were conducting raids to arrest Dasarath. “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,” he added.

Deputy commissioner of police (east division), Durgapur, Sunil Yadav, who was part of the operation, wasn’t available for comment.

Yesterday, people who had mortgaged gold for loan from the Muthoot branch had demonstrated in front of the office, claiming the company had staged the robbery. The police are yet to arrest any of the eight robbers, who had taken away the CCTV set to prevent identification.


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