Inter-state 'chameleon' trapped by rural cops

Jul 26, 2013, 02:00 IST | Sandip Kolhatkar

The 48-year-old burglar, who was involved in 70 robberies across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, managed to give cops the slip each time by changing his looks and identity. He even underwent plastic surgery to evade arrest.

The Pune Rural Police arrested Suresh Umak, a 48-year-old criminal who was involved in 70 burglaries across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. The kingpin of Nankatu gang managed to give cops the slip each time by changing his looks and identity.

In police net: Suresh Umak, the kingpin of gang that had robbed several banks, was brought to Sassoon General Hospital yesterday for medical check up after he suffered an epileptic attack. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

According to police, Umak mostly targeted small co-operative banks in villages, as they didn’t have CCTV cameras, security guards. Besides, he would also change his name, and looks by undergoing plastic surgeries.

Geared up: The equipment that (inset) Suresh Umak used to conduct robberies

Before arresting Umak from Nashik on Wednesday, officials of the Pune (rural) foiled a burglary attempt by his gang on July 14. Ravindrasinh Pardeshi, SPof Baramati division, said, “On July 13, a resident of Ranjangaon village discovered gas cutters, LPG cylinders, iron rods and axe hidden in bushes near the Pune District Central Cooperative Bank. He immediately alerted Shikrapur police, which laid a trap near the bank. Around 3 am, four people -- including Umak -- arrived at the scene to execute the crime. While we managed to arrest his accomplice, Umak was able to escape.” One of those arrested was Umak’s nephew.

Addl SP (Pune division) Vijaykumar Magar said, “I had arrested Umak and his six gang members in 2004 and had cracked several bank and shop burglary cases in the Pune district.” He added, “Our teams learnt that Umak lived in Aurangabad as Om alias Sagar Deshmukh as a respected person. Teams were formed and sent to Aurangabad, Nagpur and his native place in Amravati district. After 10 days of massive hunt, Umak was nabbed from a lodge in Nagpur,” said Magar.

Modus operandi Explaining how Umak carried out robberies, Magar said, “He has a diploma in electronics, and would use that knowledge while conducting robberies. He, along with his gang, would first recce the targeted bank in villages. They would then hide the instruments in nearby in bushes a day before committing burglary, and strike on weekends so that they have enough time to escape to a new place.”

He added, “The gang used to enter inside the bank through windows. Instead of breaking the safe, they would make a hole in it so that the siren doesn’t go off. They used gas cutters, and Umak had expertise in cutting open the safe without burning the currency notes.”

Umak made a fortune by robbing banks of lakhs of rupees. He purchased a row house in Devlali near Nashik worth Rs 28 lakh, and invested a good amount of money in land. He even has fixed deposits in banks, and owns luxury cars.

Banking on banks
In 2001, Umak and his gang robbed cash and gold ornaments worth Rs 16.66 lakh from Central Bank of India’s Junnar branch. The same year, they robbed Rs 27.9 lakh from Bank of India’s Theur branch, and Rs 10.4 lakh from Urban Co-operative Bank’s Akola branch. In 2002, they decamped with Rs 9.39 lakh from Indian Bank’s Vapi branch in Gujarat. Among the recent cases, the gang robbed Rs 32 lakh from Ahmednagar District Co-operative Bank and Rs 28 lakh from Wainganga Krishna Grameen Bank in Ratnagiri. They also tried to burgle two ATM centres in Pune district, but failed.

Forged marriage
Umak lived in Indore as Ashwin Joshi, while he was Dinesh Kumar in Bhopal. When he lived in Aurangabad, he changed his name to Om. “During his sojourn in Aurangabad in 2010, he had an affair with a young girl. However, her parents refused his marriage proposal. Umak then got the girl married to one Sagar Deshmukh and brought the couple to Aurangabad city. He started living them claiming that he was Sagar’s brother, and within six months he forged documents and himself became Sagar Deshmukh. Later, he gave the man some money and asked him to move out of the house,” Magar said.  

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