MANGALURU: Money can buy comforts. But stolen cash can bring miseries. The crew members of logistics company Prosegur Holdings’s vehicle, which they allegedly hijacked while transporting Rs 7.5 crore, perhaps understood this during their hiding in Kodagu jungles.
Their problem unfolded after they abandoned the Bolero which was on its way from Mangaluru to Bengaluru, near Hunsur on May 11.
According to police sources, they carried the cash deep into Kodagu forests where they had to live merely on biscuits and water amid insects and rain.
“They constantly lived in fear of wild animals and were drenched by occasional showers that flooded their makeshift tents. The worst was that they were literally eaten away by mosquitoes and leeches,” Valentine D’Souza, Assistant Commissioner of Police, said on Wednesday.
The four crew members were hiding at least 12 km away from human habitats. The nearest village was Kumbaranagadige, which, according to the police, is known for drunken brawls. One of the villagers alerted fellow villagers about the group walking through the forests. The group left a track which was traced by the police.
According to police, there could be at least three people who sheltered the ‘cash pirates’. They had hired Kariappa of Kumbaranagadige village for finding a ‘safe place’ for them till the situation cooled down. He had made arrangements for tarpaulin sheets which helped them save themselves and the cash from rain.
Driver Karibasava, custodian Parashuram, and gunmen Poovanna and Basappa were together for two days. Later, Basappa took his share of Rs 1.2 crore from the stolen cash and had vacated the place, while others extended their stay in the hostile conditions till the police caught up with them on Tuesday.
Accused in police custody
Three people who were arrested in the cash van heist case were on Wednesday remanded in police custody for three days. Karibasappa (24) , Poovanna (38) and Kariappa alias Kashi (46) who allegedly helped the gang had been arrested in a joint operation of Mangaluru and Kodagu police on Tuesday.