| Patna city SP Jayant Kant and SSP Manu Maharaaj with the gang members on Wednesday. (Ashok Sinha) |
Police on Wednesday claimed to have busted an inter-state gang involved in several incidents of cash van loot and bank robbery.
Prem Sahni and his 10 gang members were arrested from the Machriyawa area of Fatuha where the group had assembled to loot an Allahabad Bank branch armed with firearms, crude bombs and vault cutting equipment.
“Sahni’s gang has got at least four members, who had been hired for their services from Calcutta. The gang, during some of their operations, used to hire criminals in return of money from Calcutta. With his arrest, the police hope to crack several other criminal incidents. Though the gang’s involvement in the recent loot of Rs 1 crore from a cash van in Fatuha has not been established, we suspect a link,” senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj said.
Two revolvers, one pistol, five country-made pistols, two magazines, 40 live cartridges, 10 live crude bombs and 1kg of charas have been recovered from their possession, the police said.
“The Shani gang looted Rs 50 lakh from a cash van which was on its way to Punjab National Bank, Patna City, in 2006. However, Sahni, who hails from Patna City, was arrested in Odisha’s Sambalpur during a loot incident. He was in jail for sometime but somehow got a false bail. We picked up Sahni first and his aide Raju Rai. Based on their information, a raid was conducted to arrest his other men from Fatuha. Some of the gang members were hired from Calcutta. They have been identified as Kartik Choudhary and Rakhal Rai from North 24-Parganas district neighbouring Calcutta, Abdul Kalaam Mirza from Nimta on northern fringes of Calcutta and Munirul Sheikh from Howrah. All of them are experts in cutting safes and vaults. They had come to Patna with all kinds of equipment,” Maharaaj added.
Till now, at least 12 FIRs have been found lodged against the gang members in different police stations of Patna. “A key of a vault belonging to Axis Bank has also been recovered from him. He has a house lin Shyamnagar, around 50km north of Calcutta. One of his gang members, identified as Avinash Kumar, is the son of a policeman posted in Jehanabad district. At present, he was living in Hajipur by the name of Gopal Choudhary. He had lots of fake names, fake documents like PAN card, driving licence etc,” Maharaaj added.