Lalithaa heist: Key suspects have cinema links

Chennai, Oct 4: A day after the arrest of a key suspect in Lalithaa Jewellery heist case, police have intensified search for other members of the gang. According to sources, the arrested man, identified as Manikandan, has given some important details to the police during interrogation.

Based on the statement of Manikandan, police are searching for one Suresh, who managed to flee during a vehicle check in Tiruvarur last night, when he and Manikandan were stopped by the police. Preliminary investigation found that Suresh is the cousin of Murugan, a wanted smuggler across the country.

Also, it is learnt Murugan was involved in production of Telugu films, while Suresh acted in one of them. They were plaanning to make more movies, it is said. ‘The duo – Manikandan and Suresh – were riding a two-wheeler and failed to stop when the police intercepted them in Vilamal area.

They were caught after a chase near Manappuram, but Suresh managed to escape,’ sources said. Manikandan had five kilograms of jewels with him, they said and added that the ornaments matched the barcodes of those stolen from Lalithaa Jewellery showroom in Tiruchy Wednesday.

He told police that it was his share of robbed jewellery. While Suresh is a native of Tiruvarur, Manikandan lives in Vinayagar Koil Street in Chatiram. Police are conducting inquires with the family of Suresh to know his whereabouts.
Police said that scientific evidence also helped them nab the accused.

They had found the footage from a CCTV camera from a nearby street showing the entry of burglars from an empty ground. Ever since the heist was reported on Wednesday, police teams quizzed 190 staff of Lalithaa Jewellery and 19 members of the security team, besides scanned hours of CCTV footage from the locality.

It was earlier suspected that people from north India might have carried out the robbery. Based on suspicion, police had picked up six persons in Pudukkottai. However, their involvement in the case is yet to be established.

It may be noted that in the wee hours of Wednesday, two men- one wearing a dog mask and another a cat mask- gained access into the store at Chathiram after drilling a hole in the wall of the shop. They stole 800 pieces of jewellery which weighed over 100 kilograms. Trichy police formed seven teams nab the robbers.

NT Bureau