The trio had hatched a plan four days before the crime. Pics/Hanif Patel
Three men have been arrested for looting cash filing van from Virar on November 12. When two employees were busy uploading money in the ATM, the driver Rohit Aru escaped with Rs 4.25 crore cash.
The three accused have been identified as Aru, his close friend Akshay Mohite and Chandrakant Gaikwad. All of them are drivers by profession.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar Patil told Mid-day that the trio had hatched a plan four days before the crime.
Driver Rohit Aru
"The kingpin behind the crime is Aru, who on November 2 joined as a driver in a company which deals with carrying cash to fill in ATMs. Since it was the festive season and the circulation of cash was high, the Kotak Mahindra Bank contacted its regular cash filling van but due to festival rush there was a shortage of staff," Patil said.
"Later, Aru's company was contacted and Rs 4.53 crore cash was sent to fill in the chest of ATM at Bolinj Naka in Virar West on November 12. The custodian and the security guard got down from the van with Rs 28 lakh to deposit in the machine. Taking advantage of the situation, Aru sped away with the remaining Rs 4.25 crore and when the duo contacted him to know his whereabouts, he misguided them," Patil told Mid-day.
In the next 15 minutes, Aru reached the highway to go towards Bhiwandi.
"His accomplice Mohite, as per the plan, followed him in another vehicle but since the police had stepped up security and created barricades at various points, both the accused could not meet to transfer the cashbag from the van to Mohite's car," Patil added.
Aru could not contact Mohite as his calls and location were being traced. Out of fear, Aru dumped his phone.
On November 13, the cops at Kalyan Naka in Bhiwandi recovered cash van which was abandoned on the roadside and Rs 2.30 crore was found inside the van. "But the remaining cash was missing," Patil said.
Cash van that was abandoned on the roadside
The cops formed five teams of hand-picked officers from Virar, Arnala and local crime branch.
"During CCTV scanning of crime spot, the cops learnt about Mohite reaching Bolinj Naka in a different vehicle. We checked multiple CCTV footages and his location was found in Khargar on November 16," said crime branch officer Pramod Badakh.
Mohite was nabbed and during his interrogation, the investigating officer learnt that Aru could be hiding in Beed district where another team was sent immediately. The team contacted Aru’s friends and relatives but they were not aware of his whereabouts.
The cops scanned CCTV footage and reached Gaikwad’s house where Aru was found sleeping. "We have arrested Gaikwad for giving shelter to Aru and harbouring the looted cash," Patil said.
On being questioned about leaving Rs 2.30 crore cash in the abandoned van in Bhiwandi, Aru said he could only take limited cash in his bag.
"The currency was very heavy to be carried by one person. It was the reason Mohite had followed Aru in another vehicle, but due to heavy deployment of cops the duo could not meet. After running away with Rs 2 crore, Aru hired a taxi and paid him Rs 50,000 to reach Gaikwad’s house in Beed," said Patil.
Aru purchased a motorbike and a cellphone with the looted amount. The cops have confiscated these two items.
All three were produced before the court and have been sent to police remand for further investigation.
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