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5 more held for Muthoot gold heist

Five persons, including a woman, were netted in Dhanbad on Wednesday in connection with the Rs 13-crore heist at Muthoot Finance in Durgapur, Bengal, on February 1.

With this, the number of arrests in the case has reached 10. But, key accused Dasarath Mahto is still absconding.

Three of the five arrested in the small hours of Wednesday have been identified as Vibhishan Mahto, Nandlal Mahto and Ambika Devi. Police have refused to name the other two who are still being interrogated and are likely to spill the beans on others.

It is suspected that the interstate gang had members from Munger and Gaya in Bihar, where raids are imminent.

SP Ravi Kant Dhan said three district police teams raided as many villages in as many subdivisions to recover Rs 1.52 lakh in cash, two gold chains, a Rs 85,000 bike bought with the booty, an SUV involved in the daring robbery, a five-chamber revolver with three loaded cartridges, 23 pieces of .12 bore cartridges and a mobile phone.

While Rs 96,000 in cash was recovered from Vibhishan’s house, the gold, the bike and Rs 34,000 were found on Nandal. Ambika had Rs 22,000 in cash at her village home.

“We knew the booty had been divided and a part of the gold sold. So, we formed three raid teams,” Dhan said.

Sindri DSP Chandan Kumar Sinha raided Gudwa village in Nirsa, while the team that cracked down at Sonardih village in Sindri was led by Baghmara DSP Sanjeev Kumar. Govindpur circle inspector Ravindra Rai, on the other hand, raided Bhitia village in the same subdivision.

Dhan refused to divulge who among the five was arrested from where for the sake of investigations. He, however, confirmed that all were directly involved in the 36kg gold heist from Muthoot Finance’s Beniachity branch in Durgapur, 110km from Dhanbad.

“We have information about involvement of some more people from Munger and Gaya. Raids are on and more arrests will be made,” he added.

Wednesday’s was the third set of arrests made since the Hollywood-style heist.

Three persons were apprehended from Dhanbad’s Sadhobad village on February 5 and 3kg of gold recovered.

A team of Dhanbad and Durgapur police raided the home of Dasarath and arrested his wife Guria Devi, brother-in-law Ajit Kumar Mahto and mother-in-law Tunia Devi. Police believe they were just “receivers” of robbed items.

Two others — Amod Chowdhury, who police said was directly involved in the robbery, and Sujit Mahto, the brother-in-law of Dasarath — were arrested a day later. Around 10 per cent of the 36kg gold stolen were recovered.