CHENNAI: Nearly four months after a daring highway robbery in Kancheepuram, police on Friday arrested an advocate in Coonoor who they suspect is the mastermind behind the heist.
Significantly, Coimbatore-based advocate Asai Thambi, who is said to be a member of a fringe political outfit, is an accused in four murder cases and four robbery cases across the State.
Kancheepuram police said they were tracking Asai Thambi for several weeks after all the six accused persons arrested for the robbery told them that the whopping 4 kg of gold and `40 lakh in cash they looted was with Asai Thambi.
On the night of September 1, three staff members of Chennai-based gold merchant Kamalesh, who were carrying 4 kg of gold and `40 lakh cash in a car, stopped at a tea shop in Enathur village near Kancheepuram when the gang attacked them and escaped with the booty even as the public remained mute spectators.
Subsequently, Kancheepuram police arrested six persons within three weeks of the robbery.
“Karan Raj, a former employee of the gold merchant, had passed on information to the robbers and played a major role in the robbery. However, all the six persons said advocate Asai Thambi was the mastermind and that they had handed over the looted property to him,” said a police officer.
A police team that was camping at Coonoor for the last several days managed to trace Asai Thambi on Friday and arrested him. He was produced before a magistrate and is being taken to Kancheepuram on a transit warrant.
“We are yet to begin investigation and we will be able to recover the loot after enquiry,” the officer added.
Meanwhile, some people staged a protest in Coonoor alleging that Asai Thambi’s arrest was ‘politically motivated’.