Desperate to keep his family-owned farm afloat, a diamond broker from Gujarat who handled diamonds worth crores of rupees every day gave in to temptation and allegedly stole diamonds worth Rs 3.5 crore from the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) last month. The accused and his accomplice were arrested in a joint operation between the Gujarat and Mumbai Police on Saturday, while a third accused is still wanted.
According to the BKC police, the crime was committed on July 7 this year, when two of the three accused, Bharat Kandol and Amrut Patel, visited a diamond sales centre at the Bharat Diamond Bourse in BKC. The duo had called ahead of their visit, saying that they were interested in buying some diamonds. Accordingly, the sales manager showed them several of the precious stones and they selected three of them, collectively worth Rs 3.5 crore. While pretending to examine the diamonds, they allegedly replaced them with fake ones, slipping the real ones into their pockets. They then left, saying that they would come back with the money to finalise the sale in a week's time.
The sales manager realised the sleight-of-hand after they had left and registered a complaint with the BKC police.
"As the duo are known brokers, we had their names and contact numbers. We ascertained that Kandol is from Palanpur in Gujarat and had alerted the Gujarat police about the same, while simultaneously we were trying to trace and apprehend Patel, who is based in Mumbai," said police inspector Rajesh Gawli, BKC police station.
On Saturday, the Gujarat police apprehended Kandol while allegedly trying to sell two of the three stolen diamonds. As soon as they received this information, the BKC police moved in and arrested Patel from Goregaon. Officials said that the plan was always to try and arrest both the accused at the same time, lest one's arrest alert the other. The police recovered the third diamond from Patel's possession.
"Investigations have revealed that Kandol has a farm in his native place and keeps needing money to keep it running. However, his work as a broker wasn't doing well and hence, he got tempted to steal. He hatched the plan along with Patel and another accomplice, who is currently wanted," Gawli said.
The police have charged the trio with criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and impersonation under the Indian Penal Code and are now trying to trace and apprehend the third accused, identified as Kaushik Chovatia.