Mumbai Crime: Cop planned multi-crore thefts from old factories

A Thane constable paid a dozen robbers R500 each to loot scrap material from an abandoned factory, but some of the security guards prevented the theft; the police suspect the constable was involved in other incidents as well

Cops are duty-bound to prevent crime, but in a travesty of this very duty, the Thane police were forced to arrest one of their own, after a constable planned and executed a robbery worth crores at an old decommissioned factory.

Thane police lead the guilty constable, Dinesh Sodnawar, to the police station
Thane police lead the guilty constable, Dinesh Sodnawar, to the police station

Several such robberies have taken place at other closed factories in Thane area in the past, and the police now suspect the same constable was involved in those incidents as well. On Tuesday night, the target was the National Rayon Corporation factory at Ambivli, Kalyan.

Once one of the largest rayon and nylon manufacturing units in the world, the factory was shut down in the late ’90s. Inside, however, there was machinery and parts worth crores. According to the Mahatma Phule police, the factory had two categories of security guards some were commissioned from a security agency on contract basis, and others were directly employed by the company.

Suspecting robbers were in the compound, the company’s personal guards shut the gates of the factory and fired a few rounds from their gun in the air to frighten the crooks. They called the police, who found 12 robbers trapped in the factory.

“We arrested Arun Rajbhor, Satej Rajbhor, Suraj Rajbhor, Sushil Rajbhor, Rambharat Dhariya, Lala Rajbhor, Dhanu Kadun Bharti, Raju Verma, Rajkumar Gupta, Rupesh Bhupiya, Chandan Sharma and Rajan Kumar,” said an officer from Mahatma Phule police station.

To their shock, further investigation revealed that a police constable attached with the Thane police headquarters, Dinesh Sodnawar, had masterminded the entire plan and had intended to sell the loot to a scrap merchant, one Manikchand Gupta.

Modus operandi
The constable, Sodnawar had offered to pay the robbers Rs 500 each to carry out the robbery, cops said. Even the contract guards were in on the plan.

“The constable, with the help of the private security guards, would send in the robbers to steal, and Gupta would then buy the scrap from them. We will be arresting the security guards soon,” said Dinesh Jadhav, deputy commissioner of police, Kalyan.

The police now suspect that Sodnawar was also involved in other robberies that took place at other factories that shut down in Thane. There are several such abandoned factories that closed due to rising land costs and operating expenses. The factories house equipment worth crores, lying unused due to property disputes.

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