The man who single-handedly plotted and organised the Sanpada bank heist, 47-year-old Hajid Ali Mirja Baig, has as many as 120 criminal cases registered against him in Pune alone.
Baig, a resident of Govandi, was mainly involved in house breaking theft (HBT) and robbery. He was lodged in a jail in Pune for four years before being released last year.
Thirty lockers of Bank of Baroda’s Sanpada branch were looted by the culprits by digging a 30-feet long underground tunnel from a nearby shop on the night of November 11. Valuables worth Rs3.43 crore were stolen.
Baig was arrested from Mumbai along with three other accused on November 18. So far, the police have arrested nine men and two women, and recovered stolen goods worth Rs1.49 crore. Four people who played key roles in the crime are yet to be arrested.
Baig had purchased the equipment to loot the bank from different shops in Mumbai. However, he bough the Chinese walki-talkies online, as he did not want to leave any clues for police. The walki-talkies were extensively used by the gang to coordinate the entire plan, as substitute for mobile phones.
“Baig’s family is involved in the business of selling fish in the markets of Mumbai,” said Suraj Padvi, senior police inspector, Sanpada police station.
Baig, however, drew no pleasure from that business, and started looting houses in different cities, in Maharashtra and other states. In the state, he is wanted in Aurangabad, Nagpur, and Mumbai among others. Outside Maharashtra, he has criminal cases at Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara, and some cities in Gujarat.
Padvi said, “He would loot houses, and then sell the goods through his associates. A few years ago, he even opened a jewellery store at Zaveri Bazaar in Mumbai to sell stolen gold, but it shut down within a short span of time.”
“Baig was tired of petty crimes, and hence had planned to commit one major crime that would give him enough cash and comfort for the rest of his life. Another wanted accused, Deepak Mishra, had helped him recruit labourers from Uttar Pradesh,” Padvi said.
An XUV that the police have recovered from the gang’s possession was registered in Baig’s name. He had used that vehicle for many other crimes earlier.
“Baig divorced his first wife around a decade ago, and later married another woman. He has two daughters with his second wife,” said another police officer.
The police have recovered 3.45kg gold from Baig’s possession. He is in police custody till December 9.
Hemant Nagrale, police commissioner of Navi Mumbai, said, “For now, the accused have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC. But we are in a process of applying the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) in this case.”