Kingpin of botched jewellery heist nabbed from Pune

Robbers had struck at Samrat Jewels on August 21. DH PHOTO/JANARDHAN B K

In a major breakthrough in the botched heist at Samrat Jewels, the city police arrested the alleged kingpin, Prahallad Kailash Chowdary, from his Pune home. 

Chowdary is suspected to have masterminded the robbery and trained four of his associates, besides providing them logistic support to rob the jewellery store located Palace Guttahalli Main Road in Vyalikaval on August 21. 

Chowdary was arrested and brought to Bengaluru on Sunday, said Chethan Singh Rathore, DCP (Central). 

Police interrogated the four suspects, who spilt the beans on Chowdary’s involvement and how he masterminded the crime. A special police team left for Pune and picked him up from his house. 

Police said Chowdary would be produced before a magistrate and taken into custody for further interrogation as they suspect Chowdary’s involvement in other cases. 

Rathore said Balaji Ramesh Gayakwad, one of the four arrested suspects, was involved in the robbery of a Bank of Maharashtra branch in Satara in March. 

The six-member gang robbed Rs 23 lakh and took Rs 3.5 lakh each. But except Gayakwad, all the other suspects in that case were arrested within three days. 

Regarding the attempted robbery at Samrat Jewels, police had arrested the four the suspects — Gayakwad, 25, from Solapur district in Maharashtra; Balwan Singh, 24, a dismissed BSF constable from Bhiwani in Haryana; Sriram Bishnoi, 26, from Barmer, Rajasthan, and Omprakash, 27, from Jalore, Rajasthan. 

Gayakwad came to Bengaluru to spend his share of the robbed money and had plans to commit another crime, for which he had brought a pistol from Bihar. While searching for partners, he got in touch with Chowdary. 

Since his target was Samrat Jewels, he picked two Rajasthanis, Bishnoi and Omprakash. With one person short, he chose Singh from Haryana. 

Chowdary came to the city two years ago and was involved in the sale of chemicals. He ran a small grocery shop to hide from police attention while he trained and guided others to commit crimes. 

Chowdary helped the foursome to get a room in KR Puram and paid to buy the things they needed for the robbery. The kingpin and his associates stole two bikes from KR Puram to recce the area. 

Gayakwad apart, this was the first crime for the others. So, when the gang attempted the robbery and faced retaliation from Ashish and Rakhi, they panicked and fled the
spot. 

Chowdary was not present on the spot during the crime but waited for the word from the four. On learning that the robbery attempt had failed, he fled to Pune. 

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