The police on Monday claimed to have cracked the Tanishq gold heist case and arrested a 23-year-old mason, B Kiran Kumar. They recovered most of the gold ornaments stolen from the showroom from his residence at Rasoolpura.
The dramatic ‘breakthrough’ came late Sunday night when Kiran walked into the Banjara Hills police station and gave himself up, just two days after the Tanishq showroom in Punjagutta was looted. His cousin Anand, an accomplice, is still at large. A skeptical police questioned Kiran at first and later, searched his room in Rasoolpura, where much to their shock, they found the ornaments neatly packed in boxes.
Kiran and Anand are natives of Guntur district. The police, who immediately launched a manhunt for Anand, couldn’t find him in his village Eepuru in Guntur district. They, however, detained his cousin Sudhir for questioning. A shocked Kiran’s mother Annapoorna claimed her son was innocent and was never involved in criminal activities. “He went to Hyderabad in search of livelihood,” she said.
Hyderabad police commissioner Anurag Sharma presented Kiran at a press conference and gave details of the investigation into the sensational case. “Kiran Kumar and Anand (who is disabled) conducted a recce before pulling off the operation. They tried to break into the showroom first on Jan 22 but after removing the bricks, they found a fibre sheet which was difficult to remove. The next night, they brought a drilling machine fitted with a silencer and cut the fibre sheet,” he explained. But why did they do what they did? The accused and the police gave different versions. “We committed the theft to expose deficiencies in security. Our intention was also to protest rampant corruption in society,” claimed Kiran. Anurag Sharma, however, said Kiran wanted money to become a pilot and Anand for polio treatment.
“Kiran was under the impression that he would need at least Rs 20 lakh for his pilot training and Rs 15 lakh for Anand’s treatment,” the commissioner said.
Kiran and Anand, both professional masons, are first time offenders. However, they executed the operation without leaving any clue. According to the police, the duo were perhaps afraid after the news broke out that the stolen gold was worth more than Rs 23 crore. The actual value of gold ornaments and gems stolen was only Rs 5.19 crore. “They were, may be, afraid that if caught, the police would ask them to cough up Rs 23 crore, including gold that they hadn’t stolen,” the police said. The gold recovered from Kiran’s room comprised bangles (528), bracelets (40), necklaces (33), pendants (89), ear studs (58), rings (98) and several emeralds and rubies, all weighing about 15.5 kg and worth about Rs 5.75 crore.
The police also seized Rs 8,640, the sale proceeds of one gold ring, from Kiran’s possession. On confronting him with the CCTV footage, which showed a disabled person committing the offence, Kiran confessed that his cousin Anand was involved. It was Anand who had squeezed himself through the hole in wall into the showroom and committed the offence while Kiran kept a vigil outside, the police said, adding that they would catch Anand soon.