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Burglars from Indo-Nepal border held by Panvel cops

Tuesday, 18 March 2014 - 5:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

The Panvel city police have finally managed to nab two members of a gang, wanted in the theft of gadgets worth Rs60 lakh. After robbing various stores in Mumbai and Navi Mumbai of several gadgets, the duo had escaped to the Indo-Nepal border area of Bihar.

Earlier in February, too, the cops had made attempts to nab the duo. A team had visited Raxaul in Bihar then, but had to return empty-handed as the gang had learnt about their visit beforehand and had fled to Nepal crossing the porous border. Fortune favored the police in their second attempt and they nabbed two of the culprits from Ghoda Sahan near the border in the wee hours of Saturday.

The arrested duo have been identified as Jafar Divan, 32, and Pramod Kumar Mahoto, 35. Other members of the gang are still hiding at Veerganj in Nepal, the police said.

This gang had looted four mobile phone stores in Panvel, Koparkhairane, and Navpada, and had stolen phones worth Rs45 lakh between December and January. They looted wristwatches worth Rs25 lakh from a store in Bandra before that. The police, however, have not been able to recover any stolen goods from the suspects so far.

dna had reported earlier that as many as 32 gangs of burglars from the Indo-Nepal border area of Bihar are operating across Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane. These gangs mainly target electronic gadget stores, as there is a huge market for these goods in Nepal.

These gangs are monitored by a kingpin from Raxaul near the border. This is the same area where Indian Mujahideen's co-founder Yasin Bhatkal was arrested in August last year.

Explaining the modus operandi of these gangs, Ajit Shinde, police sub-inspector from Panvel police station said, "Two of their members visit a store posing as customers and they also buy one or two pieces to win the confidence of salesmen. While visiting the store, they put a small magnetic pin in the keyhole of the doors, because of which the doors don't get locked properly. The shop owners however, remain unaware of it. Two other members then come at night and steal the gadgets."

"The members, who are assigned to carry the gadgets from Mumbai to Nepal, never come to the store and hence they are not seen in the CCTV footages. Therefore the people cannot identify the culprits when they leave the city with the stolen goods," he said.

"The kingpin had come to Panvel once, too, in January, and was captured in footage of a CCTV camera installed in one of the stores. We know now that apart from Mumbai, these gangs also operate in the neighbouring states like Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Andhra Pradesh," Shinde said.

The local police of the border area are also suspected to be hand in glove with the culprits. "It is not possible for anyone to steal gadgets from Mumbai and sell those in Nepal without getting support from the local police. We have now deployed some private detectives to get hold of the other culprits," another police officer said.

The Panvel court has remanded the arrested men to police custody for five days.

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