Cash officer, three others arrested in Mumbai's Canara Bank heist case

A woman official of Canara Bank and a burglar were among the four arrested in connection with the heist at the bank's Ghatkopar branch here a fortnight ago, police said on Thursday.

Mumbai: A woman official of Canara Bank and a burglar were among the four arrested in connection with the heist at the bank's Ghatkopar branch here a fortnight ago, police said on Thursday.

The accused, identified as Bhavna Bane (53), a cash officer at the bank, robber Rishikesh Barikh (33) and two duplicate key-makers Yusuf Mehboob Khan (36) and Irfan Naseem Khan (32) have been arrested in the case, police said.

Bane was apprehended yesterday while Barikh was held on Monday and two others were held earlier this week, said Deputy Police Commissioner Vinaykumar Rathod.

According to police, on August 25, Barikh used 11 duplicate keys to enter Canara Bank between 5-5.30 am, shielding his face from CCTVs by an umbrella and decamped with Rs 55.40 lakh in cash.

The meticulously-executed heist not only left the Mumbai police baffled but also posed a challenge to them in cracking the case as the culprit left no clue that would lead to him, the DCP said.

As part of the probe, investigators grilled over 250 key makers and laid hands upon Yusuf and Irfan, who spilled the beans about Barikh, the officer said. The two key makers were subsequently arrested.

Barikh, who hails from Orissa, was picked from his home town and after sustained questioning, he confessed to the offence, Rathod added.

According to police, Barikh had gained access to the bank as a tea supplier by serving the staff good tea lower than the market price. He got hold of the keys of Canara Bank in 25 days after offering to pay a commission to Bane, one of the three cash officers at the branch who had the keys.

After getting the duplicate keys prepared, he executed the heist at Canara bank in Ghatkopar on August 25, police said.

Ghatkopar police said Barikh has carried out six heists

to the tune of Rs 1.19 crore since 2006, twice at Dena Bank's Shivaji Park branch, Union Bank branch in the same area, Dena Bank branch in Govandi and Excellent Co-op Bank in suburban Andheri, besides the recent Ghatkopar robbery.

"After his confession, we arrested Barikh and then Bane who aided and abetted him in the offence," DCP added.

Police have found Rs 40.34 lakh in his 19 bank accounts, Rs 8.50 lakh in a bank locker, Rs 2.21 lakh in cash from Barikh.

Another Rs 33 lakh has been found in his family's bank accounts and he bought 15 flats in Odisha allegedly using stolen money over the years, police said.

A college dropout, Barikh lost his job in 2005 and worked as a waiter in an Udupi hotel at Dadar in 2006 when he met a manager and executed his first heist. Before each heist, Barikh rented a house for a short time near the bank and stored the stolen money there before fleeing back to Odisha.

 

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