Nagpur: Hatching a plot straight out of Bollywood movie ‘Special 26’, a gang of eight people, of which three have been identified as small time criminals from Nagpur had masqueraded as Income Tax officials, conducted raids at the places of many high profile people across Maharashtra and conned them into squeezing large amount of cash and jewellery from them.
Police in Washim near Nagpur have managed to blow the lid off this unusual heist. Washim police have identified three criminals so far, all of whom are from Nagpur. Rest of the five are reportedly absconding.
According to reliable sources, these goons were identified as Suraj Surendra Kode, a resident of Police Line Takli, Gittikhadan, Sandeep Ratnakar Deshmukha resident of Anant Nagar, Borgaon Road, Gittikhadan and Prasad Ashok Ashtikar, resident of Plot No 87, Ramnagar, Ambazhari
According to the Police Officer of Washim where three of these goons were finally caught, the goons did a thorough research on some of the leading industrialists, MLAs, Ministers, traders, actors and actresses etc. They ascertained and ensured that their target has a lot of unaccounted cash and jewelleries in their houses / offices. These goons would then carry out a fake IT raid on their targets and under the guise of seizure, they would take with them the heist and flee. Even when the targeted victims realized that they have been looted by goons, they desist from reporting the matter since they have unaccounted for money (Black money). This encouraged the goons to continue their fraudulent activities.
These arrested goons along with five other goons had watched the Bollywood movie Special 26 and decided to use the concept of the movie into reality.
Special 26, also known as Special Chabbis, is a 2013 Indian heist crime thriller film directed by Neeraj Pandey. The film is inspired by the 1987 Opera House heist where a group posing as Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officers executed an income tax raid on the jeweler in Mumbai.
Police sources informed that this gang visited many cities and incorporated local youth into the gang on temporary basis. They were given training to behave exactly the way the Income Tax officials do. They then did several reconnaissances of the targeted victim’s house and office. They researched their behaviours and daily schedule thoroughly.
Once they had sufficient information, the entire gang raided the house of these industrialists, MLAs, Ministers, Traders, actors and actresses. They would storm the house and snatched the mobile phones and unplugged the land-lines so that no member of the house is able to call anyone. The servants and maids were made to sit in one room. The owners were made to sit in the living room. They then go through the almirahs, safes, lockers, and all such places where people usually hide valuables and cash.
These goons then bring the loot/booty into the living room, prepare an inventory of all the goods and valuables and make the owner of the house to sign the papers. They then promptly claim that these goods are seized by them and that the owner has to come to the Income Tax office, pay the taxes and claim their cash, ornaments back. Only few dare to go to IT office since the cash and ornaments are seldom purchased with white money. This ensured the con-men to get away with the looting spree.
However, as they say, the long arm of the law catches up with you; the luck of these goons was exhausted at Washim where they raided a prominent Property Broker’s house. The property broker or victim is identified as Sopan Cover. These goons showed their identity cards only after showing a lot of attitude and arrogance before displaying their identity cards.
These goons carried out a raid at around 8:30 am. However, they did not find the expected quantity of cashand ornaments. So they acted as if they got a call to raid another place and left the house.
The owner of the house, property broker or victim Sopan Cover had some doubt and reported the matter to the city police. The city police in-turn called up the Income Tax Department of Akola and Nagpur and found out that such a raid was never orchestrated by them.
This confirmed their doubts and they started a search for these goons. The Washim cops managed to apprehend three members of the gang of eight goons. A case was registered under Crime No 0317 dated August 20, 2016 against these goons in Washim Police Station under Sections 170, 416, 417, 419, 448 (34) of Indian Penal Code 1860.
Sources in Washim Police claimed that one of two cars which the goons used was a Hyundai Verna Car bearing RTO Registration No MH-49/ B-9381 while the Maruti Swift Dezire’s number turned out to be a fake number. The cops came to Nagpur, and arrested these goons from Nagpur and took them to Washim. The cops have procured Police Custodial Remand till August 24, 2016.
It remains to be seen if the Washim Police manages to dig out information of all the fake raids these goons carried out. Sources in Washim Police claimed that these goons are hard nuts and not so easy to crack. They may bear the beatings and third degree interrogation but may not reveal their accomplices.