Thane: The Navi Mumbai police has arrested 11 persons, including a woman, in connection with the alleged robbery at Juinagar branch of Bank of Baroda, in which the accused had allegedly entered by digging a tunnel and decamped with valuables worth Rs 3.43 crore by breaking open 30 lockers, a top police official said.
While eight of the accused were arrested from Mumbai, two others were held from Panchla in West Bengal and Allahabad. A jeweller, whom the accused sold the stolen valuables, was arrested from Malegaon in Nashik.
Navi Mumbai Police Commissioner Hemant Nagrale said in a press conference that the police have so far recovered stolen valuables worth Rs 1.51 crore, which include gold jewellery weighing 5.5 kg, silver jewellery of 412 grams and cash worth Rs 12.19 lakh. Four cars collectively worth Rs 24 lakh were also seized from them.
"It was between November 10 and 13, the accused drilled an underground tunnel and sneaked into the strongroom of the bank and decamped with the valuables by breaking open the lockers," he said.
Following the incident, the police had formed ten teams to nab the accused.
The accused identified as Shravan Krishna Hegde (24), Momim Amin Khan (24), Aanjan alias Ranjan Ananat Mohanti (43), Hajid Ali Sabdar Ali Mirza Baig alias Abbu alias Langda (45), Sahnajbi Moiddin Shaikh (33) and Kamelsh Varma (35), were arrested from Mumbai on different days.
Jumman Ali Abdul Samad Shaikh (40) and Mehrunnisa Shadab Sayyad alias Soniya (45), who is Hajid Ali's sister, were also arrested from the metropolis, Nagrale said.
Besides, the police arrested Moiddin Abdul Sirajmiya Shaikh (34) from Panchla in West Bengal; jeweller Rajendra Wagh (52) from Malegaon in Nashik and Shubham Nishad (20) from Allahabad railway station.
Police are on the lookout for four more persons involved in the crime.
"There are a number of cases registered against the five arrested accused- Ali Mirza Baig, Hegde, Momin Khan, Mohanti, Moiddin Shaikh with different police stations, including Palghar, Mumbai, Pune, Dhule, Nagpur, Amravati, Silvassa, Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, and Vadodara. The offences are related to house break-in, theft, robbery, dacoity, attempt to dacoity, among others," Nagrale said.
According to police, Gona Bachchan Prasad alias Bhavansingh from Daulatpura from Rajsamand district of Rajasthan, who had taken the neighbouring grocery shop on rent from where the tunnel was dug into the bank, had died on August 4 in Udaipur, even before the heist was carried out by the gang members.
"The gang members had made use of China-made walkie talkie, hammer machine, drilling machine, grinder, cutting machines, screw drivers, hexa blades and other instruments to dig the tunnel and enter the strong room," he said.
The police are presently examining possibility of slapping the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against those arrested, police said.
Further investigation is on.