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Police nab Indian Customs official in highway dacoity case

Police nab Indian Customs official in highway dacoity case

TIRUCHI: A Sub-Inspector in Customs Department in Tiruchi is among nine persons arrested in connection with the highway dacoity near Vadipatti in which 52 kg of silver was robbed from a Salem-based bullion merchant on November 24.

SI K. Mohan executed the dacoity with the help of his friends and their acquaintances making use of the confidential inputs about smuggling he got from his sources, police said.

“We suspect that Mohan was involved in some others cases as the gang is very big and some of them have criminal background. We will know more about them after we take them into custody,” Superintendent of Police Vijayendra Bidari said.

The police arrested S. David (35), R. Sathish (31) and six others based on a vital clue they got from the video footage of a closed-circuit television network that showed the vehicles that were following the victim’s car on Dindigul highway from Madurai up to Andipatti Bungalow in Vadipatti.

“Mohan used to narrate (to others) the raids Customs officials conduct based on intelligence inputs on those involved in hawala transactions. This sharing of information led to Mohan and David planning to rob bullion merchants who transact gold and silver without proper accounting,” Deputy Superintendent of Police (Samayanallur) A. Velmurugan said.

“Mohan thought that such merchants would not report robbery to the police fearing that their shady business transactions would be revealed,” he said.

Mohan told David about the movement and other details of the jeweller, E. Govindaraj of Ponnamapatti in Salem.Mohan remained in Tiruchi and operated the others over mobile phone.

Two of the accused followed the car on a two-wheeler in Madurai and alerted others who were waiting in two four-wheelers on Dindigul highway.

Govindaraj’s car was intercepted by an SUV near Andipatti Bungalow. Four persons who got down from the vehicle claimed themselves to be police, and whisked him and two others away in their vehicle. The other accused, who were following them, drove away Govindaraj’s car and abandoned it in a secluded place.

After shifting the valuables to their car, the accused dropped the three at Malaipatti near Alanganallur. The police were on the lookout for three more accused.

The SP said that the accused thought that the merchant was carrying a lot of gold.