Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Brahmapur, Mar 30:
In a major breakthrough, police arrested eight persons, including six robbers, allegedly involved in the loot of ‘hundi’ (Temple’s donation box) of a Jagannath temple in Odisha’s Ganjam district last month late on Sunday night.
While six persons were arrested on charges of loot, two persons were arrested for transacting in the booty, police said.
Gold jewellery weighing around 48 grams and nearly Rs 10, 000 in cash were recovered from their possession. Besides, three mobile phones were also seized from them, police added.
The accused were identified as Pradip Sahu of Sodaka, Pramod Sahu and Kalia Behera of Kalamba, Kabihadi alias Kabiraj Bisoyi and Tofan Bisoyi of Ranipada village and Samrat Behera of Dumduma in Bhubaneswar.
The accused Ghanashyam Sarab of Mathatentulia and Rakesh Kumar Patra were arrested for melting stolen gold ornaments and buying them from the thieves.
Earlier, Twin City police had arrested SK Anwar Hussain alias Bulu and Hasim Akhtar in connection with another criminal case. However, police could not establish their involvement in the temple theft case.
After the loot incident, local police had detained three suspects including Pradip Sahu. After rigorous interrogation, Sahu admitted that he tipped off Pramod about the presence of gold and cash in the temple donation box following which they planned to execute the loot. After the plan was drawn up, they involved Kalia, Samrat, Hussain and Hasim.
On February 15, they executed the plan and decamped with the booty. The looters melted the gold ornaments at Subalaya village and disposed it of for Rs 9, 000 at a shop in Aska.
“We suspect involvement of other members of the gang. The entire gang could be apprehended with the help of mobile call records of one of the accused,” Polasara IIC, Tapaswini Kanha said.
As per reports, the looters had decamped with around 300 grams of gold ornaments and Rs 31, 000 from the ‘hundi’ of the Jagannath temple at Sodaka on February 15.