Four Iranian nationals, suspected of committing a robbery in Cherthala in Kerala’s Alappuzha district, were arrested from a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram. They were arrested by Cherthala police with the help of Cantonment police personnel in Thiruvananthapuram city on Wednesday evening. The arrested nationals have been identified as Majid Sahebiaziz (32), Einollah Sharafi (30), Davoud Absalan (23) and Mohsen Setareh (35). They were taken into custody from a hotel in Thiruvananthapuram early on Wednesday morning, reports the Times of India.
The four had plans to strike at money exchange centres and post offices in the state. They had come to Kerala from Delhi in a car registered in Maharashtra and were part of a 24-member gang. "The gang reached India in January and has committed numerous crimes by tricking people at money exchange centres and other establishments,” police told PTI.
The hotel management alerted the police about certain issues with their visa, following which the police found that a case had been registered against the Iranians on suspicion of duping money from an establishment using tricks similar to hand magic.
Passports of two of them had expired and later it was found that they were wanted by Cherthala police in connection with a burglary that was reported at a shop on Tuesday for allegedly stealing Rs 34,000.
The Iranians had approached the staff of the shop seeking help to exchange foreign currency. The theft was caught on the CCTV camera of the shop.
Their modus operandi was to approach financial firms, especially money exchanges in the guise of currency conversion and distract the attention of the staff and steal money.
From Delhi, the gang split into smaller groups and travelled to different parts of the country and to Nepal, according to the police. A similar crime was reported in Puducherry following which the police there had alerted hoteliers to watch out for suspicious foreigners.