The golden tiffin box retrieved from the burglars | R Satish Babu
HYDERABAD: We don’t know if Nizam VII Osman Ali Khan Bahadur ate from his diamond-studded golden tiffin box, but two thieves from the city actually did! City police were shocked to find that the duo, who had stolen the tiffin box that is worth over Rs 100 crore and a few other valuables from the Nizam Museum, were eating from it. Indeed, they wanted to lead a king size life.
Luck, however, didn’t favour them for long as they were nabbed on Monday. The jewel thieves -- Mohammed Ghouse Pasha (23) and Mohammed Mubeen (24) -- are childhood buddies and distant relatives. They grew up at Rajendranagar on the outskirts of Hyderabad. Mubeen, police say, worked in Saudi Arabia for a while and is suspected to have made contacts in the international black market there.
After returning to Hyderabad, Mubeen happened to visit the museum, as a tourist. Impressed by the valuables he had seen, he devised a plan to steal them. Though the duo managed to steal the tiffin box, a gold cup and saucer set, and gold tea spoons, they had also set their eyes on the gold-cased Quran exhibited at the museum. Just before they could set their hands on it, they heard the aazan from a nearby mosque. They considered it a “divine warning” and left without it.
City police commissioner Anjani Kumar was beaming on Tuesday, relieved of having solved the case that had put his department in the dock. Flanked by his team, including Additional Commissioner Shikha Goel, he held a press conference to explain how the crime was executed.
The duo, he said, had conducted several dry runs before the actual heist.
On the intervening night of September 3 and 4, they reached the museum through the Mata-ki-khidki side. They went to the terrace of the adjacent residential building and from there reached the roof of the museum. Mubeen volunteered to slide in to the gallery through the 2x4 feet ventilator while Ghouse stood guard. After the heist, they fled through the same route.
To avoid being tracked by CCTV cameras, the duo travelled haphazardly through bylanes instead of main roads. “They felt insecure about carrying the 2kg tiffin box with them, so they buried it in a pit in an open area near the Rajendra Nagar dairy farm,” Anjani Kumar said. They then proceeded towards Zaheerabad, where their bike broke down.
They ditched the bike there and took a bus to Mumbai and holed up in a hotel. “They went to Mumbai to scout for potential buyers. However, they could not find any takers there. They were nabbed on their return to the city,” said police. The stolen valuables have been recovered.