Chennai: Over a month after the correspondent of a private school was robbed of 120 sovereigns of gold by an attention diversion gang near Virugambakkam in broad daylight, on Monday, the police arrested a man who they claimed was the mastermind being the burglary.
While seven gang members (all habitual offenders) are still at large, mastermind G. Ashok Kumar (37) plotted the robbery to meet the medical expenses for his wife’s in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment in a city hospital. His frequent visits to the city for this procedure helped us nab him as the other members dispersed to Andhra Pradesh after the robbery, an investigating officer said.
Ashok Kumar was picked up from his hideout at Red Hills on Sunday night and the stolen jewellery recovered from him, the police said. On August 26, around 12.30 pm, M Murugesan (70), the correspondent of Sivanthi matriculation school in Virugambakkam, had taken the jewellery from the Indian Overseas Bank’s branch at K.K. Nagar for a relative’s wedding and was returning home in his car when the gang executed their con act.
Murugesan was only a few metres from his residence in Rajeshwari Colony in Virugambakkam when two men on a bike knocked on the car window, saying that the rear tyre was flat. When an unsuspecting Murugesan got down from the vehicle, two others on another bike approached him seeking directions. In the meantime, the other two snatched the jewellery bag from the front seat of the car.
“The gang involved are professionals who are notorious for similar attention diversion tactics in Bengaluru, Mumbai and other cities, too,” Vadapalani inspector P. Kumaran said.
On August 26, the gang had stationed itself near the bank observing prospective targets and zeroed in on Murugesan. CCTV grabs from the bank and along the route to Murugesan’s home also helped us find those involved, the official added. Ashok Kumar was remanded in judicial custody. “The identity of the others involved and their whereabouts is already ascertained. We hope to nab them in a week,” a senior officer said.