2 cops, 8 men held for robbing 3 of Rs 1.29 cr

Less than a month after two policemen were arrested for allegedly hijacking a courier company van carrying jewellery worth Rs 5 crore, Khopoli police arrested two policemen and eight persons for allegedly robbing employees of a gold merchant of Rs 1.29 crore on December 10.

According to Khopoli police, Maruti Lavte, Sachin Takle and Amol More left for Pune in a private bus with Rs 1.29 crore of their employer, Sunil Kadam. When the bus stopped at the Food Mall on the Mumbai Pune Express Highway, the three men got off the bus. They had the bag of cash with them. They went inside a hotel to use the washroom there.

"When the trio exited the hotel, two men in police uniform accosted them. The duo were accompanied by seven to eight men in plain clothes. Identifying themselves as policemen, the group forced the three men into a car, where they assaulted the victims. One of the two men in uniform then pulled out a revolver to threaten them. Following this, they took away the bag. The men then threatened to kill the victims if they reported the incident to the police and fled the scene," said inspector S S Shukla.

Lavte and his colleagues then contacted Kadam and informed him of the incident. Police initiated inquiries with Kadam's employees, probing the possibility of involvement of an insider. On Monday, two men employed by Kadam for ferrying money on a contract basis confessed to have tipped off the accused about Kadam's movements. The duo, identified as Shridhar Ghadge (30) and Sudarshan Javir (27), were arrested following their confession to the crime. They tipped off the police on the other accused.

Based on the interrogation, police apprehended constable Ashish Pawar of Deccan police and constable Sampat Pardhi of Bhosri police Tuesday. Six others, including Hiraman Salunke, a Chinchwad resident, who allegedly masterminded the robbery were arrested.

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