Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Apr 11:
It is a classic case of life imitating art: inspired by the Bollywood movie ‘Special 26’, five robbers in Odisha, posing as customs officials, have duped gullible jewellery shop owners of gold worth lakhs.
The only deviation these robbers have allowed themselves from the script is that they posed as customs officials, unlike Akshay Kumar & Co who try to pass themselves off as CBI officers in the movie.
The ‘inspiration’ came to the fore after five members of the gang led by Himansu Mohanty (39) alias Bubu of Kukudang in Cuttack district, the alleged mastermind, were arrested by Commissionerate police here today.
Along with his associates, Bubu used to enter jewellery shops in Laxmisagar area and identified himself as a Customs officer before conducting ‘raids’ and ‘seizing’ gold ornaments from the shops, revealed Twin City Commissioner of Police (CP) Dr RP Sharma.
On March 25, a complainant Sambit Kumar Sahoo of Banamalipur in the city, reported in Laxmisagar police station that some unknown persons had contacted him offering to sell gold ‘seized’ by the Customs department. Sahoo agreed and gave them a sum of Rs 28 lakh, but got duplicate gold biscuits in return, the CP said.
During the course of the investigation, it was ascertained that a group of cheats of Ganjam district were involved in the case. The leads were followed and the five persons arrested and Rs 20.72 lakh seized from them, he added.
The other four accused were identified as R Haribandhu alias Rankal Haribandhu Reddy (45), who acted as the peon of Bubu while committing the crime, of Digapahandi, Sivaram Pattnaik (35) alias Tuna of Gandhi Nagar in Berhampur, Rabi Barik alias Raju (34) of Gosani Nuagaon, all three of Ganjam district and Batakrushna Pradhan (45) of Danduasahi in Cuttack district. Another accused person who acted as a middleman in the sale of the loot stuff to the customers is still absconding.
The arrested persons have been charged under section 420 of IPC and will be forwarded to a local court here today.
Besides Rs 20.72 lakh in cash, the police have also seized one Toyota Etios car, one Mahindra Scorpio and 200 duplicate gold biscuits from the accused, Sharma revealed.