Over two years after the sensational Salem train heist, the Crime Branch of the CID has cracked the case, making key arrests on Friday. In a statement to the press on Saturday, the CBCID said that they had arrested Banesingh Pardi (38) and Rohan Pardi (29) of Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh in Chennai. The duo confessed to their involvement in a gang headed by one Moharsingh, who is currently lodged in prison over his involvement in other cases.
According to the CBCID, the gang revealed that five of them travelled atop a moving train on the night of August 8, 2016. They cut a hole on the roof of the parcel van when it reached between Chinnasalem and Vriddhachalam railway stations. Two of them slipped inside the parcel van through the hole, broke open the wooden boxes, took cash bundles and wrapped them in lungis.
Explaining their modus operandi further, the police said that the gang inside the train handed over the stolen cash to their fellow gangsters, who were waiting on the ground, even as the train was fast approaching the Vriddhachalam railway station.
In August 2016, an amount of Rs 5.78 crore was stolen from four boxes out of the 226 boxes on a VPH (high-capacity parcel van), which was being moved from the Indian Overseas Bank, Salem to the Reserve Bank of India, Chennai. The incident had come to light only at noon, even though the train had arrived at Chennaiâ€™s Egmore station at 4 am.
A four-square-foot hole, through which a person could enter, was found drilled on the roof of the mail van, which was carrying soiled currencies worth Rs. 342 crore from Salem to Chennai on the Salem Express.
The investigation has revealed that the gang belonged to a group of Pardi criminals, who are also involved in cases across Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat and Maharashtra. The members reportedly move in groups to various states across the country and stay on the roadside or near railway stations and tracks by erecting temporary shelters.
The Tamil Nadu police are also probing the gangâ€™s involvement in other crimes in the state.
CBCID special teams relied on informants and technical analysis to obtain valuable clues.