The LT Marg police on Thursday night arrested three accused who were allegedly on their way to rob jewellery stores in the Zaveri Bazaar in south Mumbai. Three pistols have been recovered from the accused, who have criminal records in Mumbai as well as New Delhi.
The epicenter of Mumbai’s gold trade, the Zaveri Bazaar witnesses influx and outflow of gold as well as cash worth crores of rupees on a daily basis. Apart from scores of small, medium and large jewellery stores, the area is also home to numerous jewellery manufacturing units, while angadia couriers also ferry crores of rupees through the market every day.
According to police officials, inquiries were initiated after a tip off was received according to which a man named Rajesh would be coming to Zaveri Bazaar with some accomplices, armed with weapons.
“Our information indicated that the accused had already visited the Zaveri Bazaar earlier to reconnoitre jewellery stores that they planned to rob. We worked further on the information and after several days of relentless efforts, we were able to ascertain that the accused would be assembling outside the S K Patil garden opposite Marine Lines railway station before proceeding to Zaveri Bazaar. Accordingly, we decided to lay a trap at the spot on Thursday evening,” senior police inspector Jyoti Desai, LT Marg police station said.
A team of officers and constables in plain clothes stationed itself around the garden and lay in wait for the accused. At around 9.10 p.m., a suspect reached the garden entrance and stood alone, as if waiting for someone. Shortly thereafter, two more men reached the spot and met him. Their entire body language indicated that they were waiting for someone else, and the police decided to move in.
Accordingly, the cops approached in a loose formation around them, effectively surrounding them, and intercepted the trio. The moment the police did this, two other men, who were standing some distance away, suddenly turned around and ran away, officers said.
The trio, identified as Rajesh Rai (34), Sonu Chaudhary (23) and Sanjay Dutta (33), were searched and the police recovered one country-made iron pistol and two silver coloured fiber-and-metal pistols from them. They were placed under arrest and charged with preparation to commit dacoity under the Indian Penal Code, along with relevant sections of the Arms Act.
“We have found out that the accused have several offences like theft, robbery and dacoity registered against them in Mumbai as well as Delhi. Inquiries have also established that they had identified and reconnoitered four to five jewellery stores in Zaveri Bazaar, which they planned to rob at gunpoint. They were waiting for four more of their accomplices when they were nabbed,” Desai said.
The manpower and the number of guns that were to be used in the robbery indicates that this was a well thought out plan, and efforts are underway to trace and apprehend the absconding accused, officers said.