The police arrested 2 of the 4 accused of a gang for the robbery at Malabar Hill; hunt for mastermind is still on
The vehicle that was used to make the getaway from the site of the robbery
On Monday, the Malabar Hill police arrested two members of a gang of four, who had on July 18, looted the home of high court advocate Hemant Mehta — of goods collectively worth Rs 45 lakh — when he was out of town for the weekend. Two others, including mastermind Ijaz, are still absconding.
Chasing the scent
"When we checked the only CCTV camera at the entrance of Mehta's flat, we saw one man in his 30s come towards the house, notice the CCTV camera and immediately turning it around. That was the only footage we had to work with and since it was dark, we couldn't see the face clearly. That's when we extracted footage from all CCTV cameras on August Kranti Maidan Road between Kemps corner to Stephen's Church. We believed that the theft occurred sometime on the intervening night of July 17 and 18," said police sub-inspector Avinash Sawant.
After the police checked over 50 CCTV cameras over a span of four days, they spotted a pattern. First, they noticed the suspicious movement of a person in a "pink shirt and blue jeans, walking extremely slowly at 6.30pm. He was continuously looking at a biker on the opposite side of the road with a helmet on," added PSI Sawant.
Prafulla Pawar and Nasir Sheikh
Then, the connected him to another man walking towards Ganesh Bhavan — where Mehta lives — at around 7.30 pm. The pieces then fall in place as after 8 pm, three people came hurriedly and sat in car with another person who has not been made an accused. The biker left soon after.
Connecting the dots
"There was certainly a sequence, so we started tracing the car through CCTV cameras located in the area. Luck almost favoured the robbers, as their car wasn't caught at any signal, but we managed to get one frame where the number plate was visible," said senior inspector Bhaskarrao Sawant.
The police found that the car was registered with a woman in Nalasopara. "Our team raided the place and recovered the stolen imitation jewellery worth around R80,000. We also arrested Prafulla Pawar, the person who we spotted first," said the police.
Where's the money?
After interrogation, the police understood the modus operandi where Ijaz, the mastermind, entered the house and was helped by the other absconding accused, Aslam. Pawar and the now-arrested Nasir Sheikh waited outside for them. During interrogation, Pawar and Sheikh also claimed that Ijaz is the mastermind.
Meanwhile, Pawar and Nasir have been arrested under IPC sections 454, 457, 380, and 34. "Almost 90 per cent of the haul is with Ijaz and Aslam, so we are on the look out for both and are confident of arresting the duo soon," PSI Sawant added.
Number of luxury watches that were part of booty
Cash that was taken