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Inspired by Bollywood film 'Special 26', men rob gold loan firm

The group of ten men entered the office of Manappuram Finance Ltd at Nashik Road, a company that offers loans against gold, and fled with 15 kg of gold and Rs 3 lakh in cash

It’s a case of real to reel to real again, when a gang of ten men, posing as cops, entered the offices of a gold loan firm in Nashik and fled with around 15 kgs of the precious metal and Rs 3 lakh in cash.


The end: The robbers used a toy gun and fake police uniforms to fool the employees. Pics/Siddharth Dhadve

The Vishnu Nagar police in Dombivli solved the case and apprehended the entire gang a couple of days ago. Police said the gang based their robbery on a recent heist film Special 26, which itself was inspired by a real-life incident (See box for details).

The incident
On October 1, 2013, a gang of ten people, with some of them in police uniforms, entered the office of Manappuram Finance Limited at Nashik Road. Using a toy gun, they looted 15 kgs of gold and the cash in office and fled the scene.

The breakthrough in the case came when the Vishnu Nagar police in Dombivli arrested five people Rupesh Ranpise, Kartik Devendra, Eknath Piste, Jeevan Singh and Deepak Dalvi -- in another robbery case. During interrogations, cops learnt that the group had been involved in a big robbery recently.

“They told us the names of Raj Rane and Chandrashekhar Rane, who had recently shifted to Nashik from Dombivli,” said Rajan Ghule, assistant commissioner of police, Manapada division. The police learnt that both the Ranes had a criminal history and both had recently moved to Nashik. Raj had gone to the office of the company to repair some computers. During his visit, he managed to recce the entire premises.

“He then contacted Devendra and told him to arrange for some people who looked like policemen. Meanwhile, he also got uniforms stitched,” added Ghule.

Big plans
“Raj Rane wanted to carry out a big heist and settle down in life. So, he thought of the plan to rob the finance company. He had even watched the movie Special 26 several times,” said Rajendra Kulkarni, senior police inspector of Vishnu Nagar police station.

He, along with others, hired a vehicle to go to Shirdi, but on the way, assaulted the driver near Nashik and took hold of the vehicle. They then took the car to the finance firm’s office at Nashik Road.

The accused, pretending to be the police, entered the office of the company with two men in handcuffs. They told the employees that the men in handcuffs had stolen some gold and in exchange for the ‘stolen booty’, had taken money from the company.

The fake police demanded the gold back from the firm. Fearing the ‘police’, the employees took them inside. When they got access to inner portions of the office, the men took out a toy gun and threatened the manager. The rest proceeded to pack up the valuables.

“We have recovered 13 kgs gold and Rs 3 lakh in cash. They had mostly melted the gold and the Ranes even bought a Nano and a Chevrolet Cruze with the money. They thought now they could not be arrested,” Kulkarni told MiD DAY.
All the accused are residents of Dombivli.

Special 26
Special 26 is a thriller film starring Akshay Kumar and Manoj Bajpai in which a group of men, pretending to be a CBI unit, rob a jewellery store. The film itself is based on a real gang of men, who, on March 19, 1987, raided Tribhovandas Bhimji Zaveri store at Opera House and decamped with jewellery worth Rs 30 lakh. The group had pretended to be CBI officers on an income tax raid.

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