The Telegraph
Saturday , April 27 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jewellery thieves caught next door

The gang that looted jewellery worth Rs 1 crore from Kasturi Jewellers here last week had committed similar crimes across the country, including one at Dream Girl Hema Malini’s Mumbai home a few years ago.

Their free run ended on Friday when the police nabbed two of them from Jharkhand. Wahid Ali and Manjar Sheikh were arrested from the Rajmahal area in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district. A Patna police team had left for the neighbouring state on Wednesday evening after receiving information that the gang was from there.

Although jewellery shops such as Kasturi Jewellers in the Bakarganj area are the main targets of the gang, the stores are not the only aim. The group of around 12 to 15 moves from one place to another in search of their “target”.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaj said: “The gang is involved in major thefts, including one in the house of actor Hema Malini in Mumbai a few years ago. A similar incident had earlier been reported from Andhra Pradesh too. We are in touch with our counterparts in Mumbai and Andhra Pradesh to get details about the gang.”

During investigation, the police had said the criminals who looted the Bakarganj store were a new one — not seen before in either Patna or the state.

Maharaj said the gang had their men in different states, who would feed them on potential targets. “The involvement of the gang has come to light for the first time in the state,” he said.

The cops arrived at the gang’s modus operandi after interrogating Ali and Sheikh.

Once the gang’s target was fixed, the members would reach the spot with required tools such as gas-cutters and cylinders and accomplish the task. The cops also found the name of the gang leader — Kamruddin alias Kamo.

The members hired luxury vehicles to dodge the police. They would reach their target in luxury vehicles armed with gas-cutter and cylinders. However, they would abandon the tools on the spot, the SSP said.

Three gas cylinders, a gas-cutter, a pair of pliers, a wrench and iron rods, were found after the theft at the Patna store on the intervening night of April 16 and 17.

Maharaj said the police suspected the involvement of a gang from outside Bihar as the cylinders recovered from the jewellery store were not issued in Bihar. “The closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) footage helped the police identify the two suspects in the case,” he said.

He added that a majority of gang members were Bangladeshi refugees who have settled on the banks of the Ganga near Rajmahal in Jharkhand’s Sahebganj district. “Their main occupation is to commit crime,” he said.

In search of the gang, the police had sent teams to Ghorasahan in East Champaran and Araria on information that such gangs were active in the two districts. But they had returned empty-handed.