Hyderabad: It was not an international or interstate gang, but two daily wage labourers, both who have not studied beyond Class 7, who pulled off the daring heist in the famous Nizam Museum here last week.
Officials of the Hyderabad City Police Task Force, who cracked the case in a week’s time, said the two behind the heist of artefacts from the Museum, worth several lakhs in the international market, were arrested from near Himayat Sagar, with the stolen items being recovered intact.
The arrested persons were identified as Mohammed Ghouse Pasha alias Khooni Ghouse (23), a Class 7 Urdu medium dropout and centering worker from Chintalmet in Rajendra Nagar; and Mohammed Mubeen (24), a Class 2 dropout and welding worker from Rajendranagar, who had worked briefly in Saudi Arabia before being deported recently.
According to the police, both were childhood friends and Pasha, who began committing offences in 2011, was involved in 15 theft and burglaries. Mubeen was deported four months ago after he assaulted a Pakistan national in Saudi.
City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said Mubeen had visited the museum and was amused seeing the artefacts including the tiffin box, golden cup and saucer and the Holy Quran in the showcase.
“He believed he could use his contacts in Saudi to sell these items in the international market and earn crores using his contacts in Saudi Arabia and other places,” the Commissioner said.
A month before they pulled off the heist, they conducted a recce and made markings for later identification at various spots in and around the museum. Pasha had also identified a dry tree opposite to the location of the tiffin box. Three days later, both went to the museum surroundings again and observed the surveillance cameras. They also carved an arrow mark over the ventilator through which they planned to enter the museum.
In the wee hours of September 3, they, wearing masks and gloves, used a rope to enter the museum through the ventilator and decamped with the antique pieces. After hiding the stolen items in an open space near Rajendra Nagar, they tried their luck to sell the items by heading to Mumbai. However, with their attempts falling flat, they returned to the city on Monday, when they were nabbed in a joint operation by the South Zone police, the Task Force and the Mirchowk police near the hillocks around Himayat Sagar.
Do din ke sultan!
What’s a tiffin box meant for? To have food, and if that is a golden one, all the more reason to eat from it, right?
Well, the two suspects in the NizamMuseum heist, who stole a golden tiffin box, cup and saucer and other antique items from the museum, reportedly told the police during interrogation that after the heist, they were regularly having food in the golden tiffin box that once belonged to the last Nizam of Hyderabad.
“I do not know if His Highness the last Nizam of Hyderabad ate in the tiffin box. But these two culprits were having food in it all these days,” City Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar said, adding this was revealed during the questioning after the two were arrested.