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Bollywood scripts Kerala’s bank heist

Friday, 29 February 2008 - 3:12am IST

Sanjay Gadhvi’s thriller shot a real-life take in Malappuram in Kerala when a group of criminals burrowed their way into a bank on New Year’s Eve.

Mastermind of state’s biggest bank robbery inspired by Dhoom

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It was Dhoom sans the bikes and babes. Sanjay Gadhvi’s thriller shot a real-life take in Malappuram in Kerala when a group of criminals burrowed their way into a bank on New Year’s Eve. Two months later, however, police have caught four of the accused and recovered most of the Rs8-crore loot in an equally dramatic operation.

If Jaison, the mastermind, was inspired by Kabir (the dashing thief played by John Abraham), there were 27 Jais (the supercop played by Abhishek Bachchan) after him. Malappuram superintendent of police P Vijayan led his men on the culprits’ trail, armed with an innovative strategy and hi-tech investigation methods.

Additional director general of police KS Jangpangi, briefing reporters about the arrests in Malappuram on Thursday, said this is a milestone in the police records. “It is a classic case of teamwork. We also couldn’t have done it without good leadership,” he said. He added the theft was the biggest in the history of the state.

On the morning of January 1, the staff of the South Malabar Grameen Bank in Chelembra was shocked to see the floor cracked open from below and the locker poorer by Rs7.5 crore worth of gold and Rs25 lakh cash. The daredevilry was attributed to a mysterious man who had rented the floor below the bank in the guise of renovating it as a restaurant. “There were no weapons used to make the manhole and the gang left very scant evidence,” Jangpangi said. Police relied on a sketch of a man called Babu in the initial phase of the investigation. Jaison aka Joseph has an uncanny resemblance to the sketch made by the police team from descriptions given by locals.

“We have recovered about 52kg of gold. The culprit has confessed where he sold the rest of it. We can’t reveal more as it would make further investigation difficult,” SP Vijayan, who led the special team which cracked the case in 57 days, said.

Jaison has confessed that he masterminded the robbery on a cue from Bollywood. “The culprit was inspired after seeing the movie Dhoom,” Jangpangi said. Dhoom shows a gang of daredevils blasting open a hole in a hotel room to break into the locker apartment amidst New Year revelry. Jaison and his men dug in from below, but on a New Year’s Eve.

Police nabbed Rajesh aka Shibu, Radha Krishnan and Kanakeswari along with Jaison from a house in Kozhikode two days ago. Though the gang tried to divert the probe by posting out-of-place Maoist slogans at the crime scene and making misleading calls from Andhra Pradesh, police tasted blood after they successfully located the suspects’ hideout by tracking their mobile calls.


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