Lalithaa heist: Special teams head to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka

Chennai: Special teams of police have left for Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to nab the mastermind of the Lalithaa Jewellery heist in Tiruchi.

According to sources, the teams are searching for Murugan (44), a habitual offender who has been arrested by Chennai and Hyderabad police in the past for robbery and other crimes.

Police are looking out for him in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. In 2018, he had formed his own gang with an aim to strike at banks and jewellery shops, sources added.

He was arrested for the first time for a crime by Bengaluru police.
Police said, after he came out on bail, he shifted his base to Hyderabad and bought a house.

He told his neighbours that he was a film producer. ”He wanted to carry out robberies to invest in film making,” sources stated.

In August 2014, he carried out a robbery in Balan Nagar and Mehboob Nagar in Andhra Pradesh. He was later arrested and the police seized huge amount of gold and cash from him.

After this, he was again arrested in 2017 by the city police for robbing 17 houses in Thirumangalam, Anna Nagar. He was arrested along with four of his accomplices and five kilograms of gold was seized from him.

Police said, when Murugan plans to execute a robbery, he refrains from staying in a house or in a hotel. Instead, he keeps travelling in a van or a car.

He also does not use a mobile phone, which makes it all the more difficult to trace him. Murugan, sources say, has many health issues. It is also said he had adopted two differntly abled children.

A native of Thiruvarur, he also has the support of his village people who would not give police any details about him as he also helps many families in need.

It may be noted that two men wearing a dog mask and another a cat mask gained access into the jewellery store at Chathiram after drilling a hole in the wall.

They stole 800 pieces of jewellery which weighed over 100 kilograms worth Rs 13 crore. Police arrested one of the accused, Manikandan on Thursday night.

NT Bureau