It is said even the most clever of criminals leaves a clue behind. The discovery of a stainless steel bowl with a name embossed on it, helped the police solve a theft of over Rs 20 lakh worth jewellery recently. One of the accused had left a bag with the bowl in it in a bus where the theft happened, leading the police to him.
Bowled the thieves over: The police officers who solved the case, seen here with the steel bowl, recovered jewellery and money. Also seen are (sitting extreme left) Police Inspector Sangeeta Alphonso Shinde and (sitting extreme right) Shahaji Umap, deputy police commissioner, Navi Mumbai
Maheshkumar Roshanlal Bafna manufactures jewellery in Zaveri Bazaar and his two employees, Vrushabh and Jeevan, deliver it to his clients in Nanded and bring cash payments if any.
On February 22, Vrushabh and Jeevan delivered jewellery in Nanded, and took a Sharma Travels bus from there and got off at LP bridge bus stop in Navi Mumbai.
“While getting off, they realised some jewellery — around 1,800 grams, and Rs 2 lakh which they had got from the sale of some jewellery were missing. Their bag in which this was kept was stolen,” said Shahaji Umap, deputy commissioner of police, Navi Mumbai.
Vrushabh and Jeevan informed their employer about the theft and a case was registered at Nerul police station. “We started investigation. We visited the shops of the jewellers Bafna deals with at Nanded, and found that four people were following Vrushabh and Jeevan, from the CCTV camera footage at a shop,” said Sangeeta Alphonso Shinde, senior police inspector of Nerul police station.
The police visited several cities like Nanded, Latur, Beed, Osmanabad and Solapur but did not find the accused. After some days, an officer bearer of Sharma Travels approached the Nerul police station, saying that the day Bafna’s bag went missing, they had found an unclaimed bag in the bus.
Steel bowl with a name
“In the bag we found a cutter, a towel, a bedsheet and a steel bowl. Initially we thought there was nothing important for us in the bag, but later, one of our officers, Jagvinder Singh Rajput, found a name written on the bowl, Rajaram Sakharam Dikhole,” said Alphonso Shinde.
The police began to look for Dikhole. "We checked the state’s voters’ list. One by one, we checked all the cities and in Solapur, we found people with the surname Dikhole in three villages. It is a very uncommon surname in the state, but was present in three villages Teburane, Mada and Kurdawadi," said Umap.
Some police officers visited the three villages. "We showed footage of the accused seen following Vrushabh and Jeevan and asked the villagers to identify them. Finally in Kurdawadi, we were able to find one of the accused, Bharat Shankar Dikhole. He was the nephew of Rajaram whose name was embossed on the utensil," said Umap.
Accused is arrested
The police arrested Bharat, who initially denied the crime, but admitted it when shown the footage. The cops managed to recover around 627 grams of gold jewellery and R1 lakh from him. “We have recovered around Rs 19 lakh worth gold jewellery from the accused. I have declared a reward of Rs 15,000 to the police officers who have done this wonderful job of detecting this case from a utensil,” said Umap. The other three accused have been identified but are on the run. The steel bowl was given by Rajaram to Bharat during his marriage.