Six days after Rs3.87crore was robbed from a cash delivery van outside the Nalasopara (West) branch of Axis Bank, the police on Monday launched combing operations in the Vasai-Virar region on the suspicion that the booty has been stashed away there.
A senior police officer said they have some clues to this effect. “We will pick up history-sheeters and criminals and interrogate them. More than 150 police personnel have been brought in for the operation,” said the officer who did not wish to be identified.
The police have also released sketches of four of the accused based on accounts of passers-by and onlookers who witnessed the crime. The sketches have been sent to police stations in every district of Maharashtra and the police are also checking criminal records across the state.
The Thane Rural police said it was likely that the robbers received a tip-off from someone who was in the know of transportation of the cash that day. What lends credence to the theory is that of three cash boxes in the van, the robbers grabbed two while the third box, which had the least amount was left behind.
“In all, the three boxes contained more than Rs4 crore. The robbers left with two boxes, one containing Rs1.47 crore and the other containing Rs2.40 crore. But the box which contained Rs37 lakh was left untouched,” said the officer.
“This points to the involvement of an insider.”
The green Qualis bearing registration number MH 39 622 had been stolen from Pantnagar in Ghatkopar, a day prior to the robbery, said the police, adding that the car owner had lodged a complaint the same day.
Senior inspector Mukund Mahajan of Nalasopara police station said that the police are going through phone records of all employees at the bank and security agency. “Camera footage from various toll nakas is being checked,” he said.
Meanwhile, the two guards escorting the cash van, Chandrakant Patil and Mohan Kamble, and the security van cashier, Sachin Gurav,23, and the complainant had been kept at Nalasopara police station for investigation.