A 50-year-old man, suspected to have helped the mastermind behind the ATM robberies in Tiruvannamalai on February 12, was arrested from his hideout in Karnataka on Tuesday.
Police said that S. Sirajududin, native of Avanthi Koth village in Alwar district of Rajasthan, was the sixth accused arrested by a special team of the Tamil Nadu police. His role was said to provide logistics, including transport facilities after the heist. Police said he helped in providing accommodation for the gang for a few days after the heists.
However, the police said that Sirajuudin was not directly involved in the heists. Instead, he helped the gang in transporting the huge cash. “In essence, only four suspects are directly involved in the heists whereas the role of others was limited to being helpers for the gang. Unlike gold, recovery of the entire stolen cash is difficult as a portion of the money could have been spent, K. Karthikeyan, SP (Tiruvannamalai), told The Hindu.
The police also recovered a container lorry from Sirajuddin from his hideout. At present, ₹5 lakh in cash and two cars have been recovered from the arrested persons in the case. Earlier, the fifth accused, M. Nizamuddin, 28, was arrested from KGF (Kolar) in Karnataka.
On February 20, ‘Gujarat’ P. Basha, 43, and his associate P. Afsar Hussian, 26, were arrested from the hideout in KGF (Kolar) in Karnataka. The duo was involved in helping the gang with money transaction of the robbed cash and providing accomodation at the hideout in KGF. On February 17, two key suspects, including the mastermind behind the robbery Mohammed Arif, 35, and his friend and accomplice Azad, 37, were arrested in Nuh district of Haryana.
The accused had stolen ₹79.79 lakh in cash from four ATMs in Tiruvannamalai. Initial inquiry revealed that the gang had stayed in a hotel in KGF where they planned the heist. From the hotel, the gang visited Tiruvannamalai and other neighbouring areas and monitored the localities for weeks before executing their plan. The gang had cut open the ATMs with a gas-welding machine and looted the cash. After the robbery, the suspects stayed in the hideout at KGF (Kolar) for a few days before boarding a flight from Bengaluru airport.