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ATM robberies: SIT in hot pursuit of gang members

Accused learnt to be hiding in Haryana and Rajasthan

Having arrested from Delhi the leader of the gang that broke into two automatic teller machines (ATMs) at Irumpanam and Koratty and looted ₹35 lakh, the special investigation team (SIT) is now hot on the heels of the remaining five accused learnt to be in hiding in Haryana and Rajasthan.

The SIT with officers from Thrissur, Kottayam and Ernakulam districts was formed shortly after the incident.

The six-member team is now in Mewat district of Haryana after having made a trip lasting a few days in Rajasthan. They are making all efforts to arrest the accused with the help of the local police in both the States. All the accused belong to the two States.

In between, they landed in Delhi and recorded the arrest of Pappy Palsingh aka Pappu who was already lodged in Tihar Jail after being arrested by the Delhi Police in a motorcycle theft case. Apparently, he was picked up after the ATM robbery.

Pappu’s arrest was recorded with the consent of a Delhi court. He will be brought here by next week after securing production warrant from the Thripunithura court.

Pappu confesses

He is learnt to have confessed to the robbery though a detailed interrogation will be conducted only after securing his custody. The rest of the accused were traced to Rajasthan and Haryana with the help of the cyber cell under the guidance of District Police Chief (Kochi City) M.P. Dinesh and Kottayam Superintendent of Police Hari Sanker.

Pappu and the co-accused were identified with the help of CCTV footage. The accused are learnt to be very much on the police radar, and the police are working out ways to arrest them with the help of the local police braving potential stiff resistance from local residents of their respective villages. The investigation team has been shuttling between the north Indian States over the last more than a week.

According to sources, all the accused are either drivers or cleaners of trucks used to transport new vehicles to Kerala and have criminal antecedents. Data regarding their criminal background is being collected.

The gang is accused of breaking into an unmanned and outsourced ATM of the State Bank of India at Irumpanam and looting ₹25 lakh after prising it open using gas cutters on October 12 at 3.33 a.m. Within a few hours thereafter, they robbed ₹10 lakh from another ATM at Koratty in Thrissur district in a similar manner.

Before the robberies, they had stolen a pick-up van from Kottayam before unsuccessfully attempting to break into two ATMs there. Though they had sprayed a liquid on the secondary camera in the ATMs, the footage from the primary camera mounted on the machine seems to have helped in unveiling their identity.

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