Planned for nearly a year, according to reports, inspired by the global hit Netflix show “Money Heist,” a bank robbery near Mumbai has sparked as much detail as a web series worth binge-watching.
Police said this week that internal work had been resolved, with five arrests and Rs 120 crore recovered. They had earlier found Rs 220 crore at an ICICI Bank branch in Thane when they were investigating a robbery in July this year.
The main accused in the case, Altaf Shaikh, 43, has been arrested and Rs 9 crore has been recovered from him, police said. He used to be the custodian of the bank vaults and orchestrated elaborate robberies. His sister, identified as Neelofer, has also been arrested, they said.
“Shaikh, a resident of Mumbra, has been working as a custodian at ICICI Bank. As custodian, he is the keeper of the bank’s locker keys. He has spent a year planning the heist, researching vulnerabilities in the system, and gathering tools to pull it Come down,” said an officer from the Mampada police station.
He added that during the investigation, police discovered that Sheikh had orchestrated the entire robbery by expanding air-conditioning ducts, sneaking cash into the rubbish chute and tampering with CCTV footage.
“After deactivating the alarm system and destroying the CCTV, the Sheikh opened the bank vault and moved the cash to the pipes and the chute below. The incident came to light after the bank realised the safe funds were missing, as did the DVR CCTV, which prompted its Officers called the inspection team,” the official said.
Technicians notified authorities that the footage was also stored online, and realizing that his plan had failed, Sheikh fled the scene with about 120 crore rupees. The remaining Rs 220 crore was found under the bank’s tarp.
He spent the next three months on the run, changing his appearance and hiding his identity with a burqa. Sheikh’s sister, Nilov, knew of his movements and hid some cash at her house. She has been charged as a co-defendant in the case and arrested, police said. Sheikh was finally arrested from Pune on Monday.