Little headway in the Muthoot gold heist has prompted Seraikela-Kharsawan police to mull cash reward for information on the elusive mastermind who pulled off the nearly Rs 3-crore gunpoint robbery in guard garb on October 7.
SP Indrajit Mahthe said they were yet to decide on the amount, but it would definitely be attractive. “Cash for a tip-off may help us net the main accused. We have sent a proposal in this regard to the headquarters (in Ranchi). Once the same is approved, we will announce the reward,” he added.
Srinivas Sharma (38) — a native of Aurangabad district in Bihar and wanted in some dozen cases of dacoity and loot in Jharkhand, Bengal, Odisha and his home state — had cleaned out the Adityapur branch of the finance company after working there as a security guard for a month.
Initially, the gold and cash loss was pegged at Rs 1.25 crore, but later the Muthoot audit department found the blow to be Rs 2.83-crore heavy.
Srinivas had orchestrated the swift and daring evening heist along with five others, including his nephew and Target Security Services colleague Ranjit. A team was sent to Aurangabad to track down the kingpin, but it managed to nab only a person suspected to be the nephew on October 10.
Mahthe and his men are now banking on public information to crack the case.
The SP said the arrested person, who is currently in judicial custody, would be subjected to a test identification parade to confirm whether he was indeed Srinivas’s nephew and aide Ranjit.
“Once it is verified in the TI parade that the man is who we think he is, we will take him in police remand for grilling and launch fresh investigations into the heist,” the SP said.
The management of Muthoot Finance has, meanwhile, started repaying 200 affected customers in cash or gold.
New branch manager Unni Krishnan said that those who wanted to receive their ornament deposits in original form would have to bear 50 per cent of the making charge. “The rest will be borne by us. A proposal to this effect has been sent to our head office in Calcutta,” he added.