Police have arrested the main accused involved in the Rs 12 crore cash theft from ICICI Bank in Thane’s Manpada area from Pune after more than two-and-a-half months, an official said on Wednesday. The police have also recovered around Rs nine crore from the prime accused, identified as Altaf Shaikh, 43, he said.
With Shaikh’s arrest on Monday, the police have so far arrested five accused in the case, including his sister Neelofer. The theft had taken place on July 12. ”Shaikh, a resident of Mumbra, had been working with ICICI Bank as a custodian. As the custodian, he was the caretaker of the bank’s locker keys. He spent a year planning the heist, studying the loopholes in the system, and gathering tools to pull it off,” the official of Manpada police station said. During the probe, police found that Shaikh planned the entire heist by enlarging the AC duct to pass the cash to the garbage chute and tampering with the CCTV footage, he added.
”After deactivating the alarm system and sabotaging the CCTV, Shaikh had opened the bank vault and transferred the cash to the duct and below to the chute. The incident came to light after the bank realised that the security money was missing, as were the DVR of CCTVs, which prompted its personnel to call the inspection team,” the official said. After the incident, Shaikh went absconding. He would change his looks and use burqa to hide his identity. Shaikh’s sister Neelofer, who was aware of his movement, hid some cash in her home. She has been booked as co-accused in the case and arrested, police said. Shaikh was finally arrested from Pune on Monday. The police managed to recover around Rs nine crore, out of Rs 12.20 crore stolen from the bank, and the remaining amount would be recovered soon, he said.
Shaikh was nabbed in a joint operation by Thane and Navi Mumbai police. Earlier, the police had arrested Neelofer and three others – Abrar Qureshi (33), Ahmed Khan (33) and Anuj Giri (30). More persons are likely to be arrested in the case and further investigation is underway, the official said.