Train rob­bers claim they burnt ₹2 crore in cash

The note ban in Nov. 2016 ren­dered most of the ₹5.78 crore they looted use­less

The Hindu - - CHENNAI - R. Si­vara­man Syed Mutha­har Saqaf

The rob­bers who looted ₹5.78 crore in cash from the Salem-Chennai Eg­more Ex­press in 2016, dis­closed that they had to burn notes worth about ₹2 crore af­ter the de­mon­eti­sa­tion drive as they could nei­ther spend the money nor de­posit it in the banks.

Of the ₹342 crore that was be­ing trans­ported on the train by In­dian Over­seas Bank, Salem, to Re­serve Bank of In­dia in Chennai on Au­gust 8, 2016, the gang looted ₹5.78 crore. On November 8, 2016, the Cen­tre an­nounced de­mon­eti­sa­tion of ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes and in­tro­duced new ₹500 and ₹2,000 notes.

Af­ter a two-year search, the CB-CID team nabbed seven mem­bers of a gang led by Mo­har Singh of Guna district, Mad­hya Pradesh.

On ob­tain­ing the nec­es­sary or­ders from a Met­ro­pol­i­tan Mag­is­trate Court, five of the sus­pects have been re­manded in cus­tody for in­ter­ro­ga­tion since Oc­to­ber 30. Dur­ing this time, they dis­closed the way they went about the rob­bery, sources said.

Modus operandi

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the five sus­pects were taken to the Vrid­dhacha­lam rail­way sta­tion on Satur­day, to re­con­struct the crime scene.

The sus­pects en­acted se­quence of events — trav­el­ling on the roof-top of the mov­ing train be­tween Chinna Salem and Vrid­dhacha­lam rail­way sta­tions, drilling a hole, en­ter­ing the par­cel van, break­ing open wooden boxes, wrap­ping cash bun­dles in their gar­ments and fi­nally, haul­ing them out.

Af­ter the op­er­a­tion, the gang told the po­lice, they hired a van from Mad­hya Pradesh and trans­ported the booty to their na­tive vil­lage. They shared a por­tion of the cash among them­selves.

“Our in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed that they had bought im­mov­able prop­er­ties for ₹1.78 crore, in their na­tive vil­lages in Mad­hya Pradesh. We are as­cer­tain­ing the facts and will gather nec­es­sary ev­i­dence. They also burnt ₹2 crore of the cash as they were un­able to bank or use the money,” an official said.

Taken to Salem

The CB-CID spe­cial team took two of the ac­cused to Salem and made en­quiries at the Salem rail­way junc­tion, Ay­o­d­hiya­p­at­ti­nam and At­tur rail­way sta­tions on their move­ment prior to the crime and on the day of the in­ci­dent.

They also in­quired about their ac­tiv­i­ties in Salem. They were then taken to the goods yard at the Salem junc­tion com­plex where the money was loaded into the par­cel van.

“We sus­pect the in­volve­ment of at least 16 other gang mem­bers,” an official said.

The team has been try­ing to iden­tify the lo­cal con­tacts who in­formed the ac­cused about the move­ment of the par­cel van, he added.

Piec­ing it to­gether: The five sus­pects were taken to the Vrid­dhacha­lam rail­way sta­tion on Satur­day to re­con­struct the crime scene.

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