It is not a scene from a movie or some television series but a real-life incidence where some thieves dug a tunnel under a Navi Mumbai bank, broke into 30 lockers and stole valuables worth Rupees 5-6 crore, police said.
Officials at Bank of Baroda’s Sanpada branch came to work on Monday and found the broken lockers and a gaping hole under them, police said.
After examining the hole, they found it led to a 30-foot-long tunnel that opened into a shop a short distance away from the bank.
The masterminds of the operation had rented a grocery store three shops next to the bank in June this year. They then dug an underground tunnel, which passed under two other shops, leading to the area near the lockers of the bank. Of 237 lockers, 30 lockers were found open.
To escape suspicion, the masterminds wiped off their fingerprints with a wet cloth from places which they touched. The police recovered a hammer and a sickle from the bank branch.
“Taking advantage of the two-day weekend break, the accused broke 30 lockers,” police sources said.
“After digging one part of the tunnel, the culprits put plywood on the upper side, which was supported by small bamboo sticks. Then they went on to dig another part. They did this to ensure they were not buried underground while committing the crime,” said the senior investigating officer.
“The bank had CCTV cameras in the other rooms. However, there were none inside the locker room to respect the privacy of customers,” said Kiran Patil, assistant commissioner of police (Nerul) division.
Tushar Doshi, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said, “It is impossible to dig a tunnel that ends exactly under the locker room without having an idea about the bank’s structure. It seems the culprits had visited the bank, including the locker room, multiple times. Prima facie it does not appear to be an insider’s job. But nothing can be said unless the case is solved.”
The police have formed 10 teams and have sent their officers to different places looking for the criminals.
According to Hemant Nagrale, Commissioner of Police, Navi Mumbai, “We have registered an offence in Sanpada police station under Section 454, 457 and 380 of the Indian Penal Code.”.