Ornaments, cash worth Rs 45 lakh stolen from Maha temple

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Thane (Maha): Cash and ornaments worth around Rs 45 lakh were stolen from a temple here in Maharashtra, a police official said Monday.

Six people, including a couple, have been arrested in connection with the theft, he said.

The accused broke open the rear door of the Gopal Krishna Temple, located in the city’s Jambli Naka area, on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

They decamped with ornaments and cash kept in a cupboard there, Additional Commissioner of Police (ACP) Satya Narayan told reporters here.

The theft came to light Sunday morning when the management of the temple opened the premises and found the valuables missing.

The accused also disconnected the CCTV installed in the premises, Narayan said.

However, police analysed footages of other CCTVs installed in the area outside the temple and on that basis, they managed to nab the main accused, Santosh Kamble (26), from Shil Phata in Diva township here on Sunday, he said.

The police later arrested the other five accused, including Kamble’s wife, while they were planning to fled the city with the booty.

The police recovered ornaments and cash worth Rs 44.76 lakh, and also a car and an auto-rickshaw in which the accused were planning to escape, Narayan said.

Some of the ornaments, which were displayed before the media persons, were more than 150 years old, the police said, adding the temple management had kept all the valuables at the religious place instead of a bank locker.

Kamble was into scrap selling business near the temple and was well aware of the routine followed at the religious place, the police said.

The accused along with his wife Rekha Kamble (21) did a recce of the place before the offence.

The four others – Arun Chotelal Sonkar (19), Sahjad Nashibali Khan (25), Zulfikar Samiruddin Mansuri (22) and Aazad Mashukh Saha (19) – assisted in the theft, the ACP said.

The accused were booked under IPC sections 454, 457 (lurking house-trespass or house-breaking by night in order to commit offence) and 380 (theft), he said.

An inquiry was on to ascertain if the accused were involved in similar crimes earlier also, the police added.

To a question, Narayan said there is a police outpost at a stone’s throw distance from the temple and that they will inquire into the role of the policemen on duty there at the time of the crime.

He said the booty recovered from the accused will be handed over to the temple management after completion of due legal procedures.

The police team which cracked the case has been given a reward of Rs 21,000, he added. PTI