Mumbai: In what could be an inside job, a gang dug up an underground tunnel to sneak into the store room of Bank of Baroda and broke open private lockers before escaping with the loot, which included valuables and cash.
The valuation of the missing goods is under way with customers reporting their missing inventory. But a rough estimate is that valuables worth Rs 40 lakh have been reported missing thus far; the process of tallying is still on and the figure is expected to mount.
The 25-feet-deep tunnel, stretching across five shops, led from the locker room to a nearby general store which was recently rented out. The tunnel could not have been dug overnight and the work must have been in progress for some time. Also, it is suspected the digging must have taken place at night time when the commotion was less likely to draw attention.
The burglary took place in Sector 11 at the Bank of Baroda branch near Juinagar railway station. According to a police official, the miscreants must have struck at weekend but the incident came to light only on Monday morning when the bank re-opened and a customer found the lockers in the treasury room tampered with and reported the matter to a senior officer.
The burglars broke into roughly 30 lockers. According to Suraj Padvi, Senior Police Inspector, Sanpada police station, “The tunnel was dug up across five shops. We are checking if any CCTV footage is available of any unusual activity in and around the bank area. We suspect that it is an insider’s job and will be questioning the bank officials and recording their statements.”
The digging up of the tunnel apart, it would have been an equally laborious exercise to dispose of the debris. Sources said only an insider could have known the topography of the area; he must have also had access to a master plan or a blueprint; also, he took help of professionals to dig up the tunnel.
According to Hemant Nagrale, Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai, “The suspects had rented the adjoining shop in May 2017.The culprits broke open 30 out of the 225 lockers. The valuation of the looted property is on. We have some leads and our teams are working on it. “
A FIR has been registered at Sanpada police station for house-breaking (Sections 454,457 and 380) of the Indian Penal Code.