Investigations by the Pune rural police have revealed that Suresh Kashinath Umak
, the 46-year-old ring leader of an inter-state gang of burglars, had undergone plastic surgery few years back to hide his identity and evade arrest.
Umak was arrested on Tuesday from a lodge in Nagpur. He had managed to escape while his three accomplices were nabbed when they arrived for burglary at Pune District Central Cooperative Bank's branch in Ranjangaon Sandas (Shirur taluka), about 65 km from Pune city, in the wee hours of July 14.
Police claimed to have recovered a Ford Fiesta car, two oxygen cylinders, one LPG cylinder, gas cutter, drill machine, axe, iron rods and other tools from the spot.
Talking to reporters at the rural police headquarters on Thursday, Additional Superintendent of Police (Pune division) Vijaykumar Magar said, “I had earlier arrested Umak and his six gang members in 2004 and solved many burglary cases in the Pune district. Hence, I knew his modus operandi. Our teams learnt that Umak lived in Aurangabad as Om alias Sagar Raosaheb Deshmukh who was a reputed person in the area. Teams were fanned out to Aurangabad, Nagpur and his native place in Amravati district. After 10 days of massive hunt, Umak was nabbed from a lodge in Nagpur.”
According to police, Umak is active in burglaries since 1991 and has over 60 cases in Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. He was on the run after fleeing from police custody by assaulting cops with iron rods in Chhatisgarh. “Umak always recruited local youths so that they can help in doing recce of the banks located in isolated places. His current gang was active for about two years and they are involved in many burglaries,” said Ravindrasinh Pardeshi, the Additional Superintendent of Police (Baramati division).
Umak's other gang members include Pramod Ambadas Umak (36) of Kamlapur in Amravati district, Kishore Bhaurao Suradkar (28), a native of Madhya Pradesh, who resides at Sinhnagar in Aurangabad district, and Vishal Balu Kshirsagar (19) of Nimgaon Daku in Ahmadanagar district. A case is registered against them at the Shirur police station for offence under section 399 (making preparation for dacoity) and 402 (assembling for purpose of dacoity) of the Indian Penal Code.
Police Inspector Ashok Kshirsagar, in-charge of Shirur police station, said, “Umak has left his wife and four children and lived in Aurangabad with his mistress. In 2010, he underwent plastic surgery to evade arrest.”
Superintendent of Police (Pune rural) Manoj Lohiya guided the investigating team which included assistant police inspector Amar Jagdale, and police constables Janardhan Shelke, Sahdev Thube, Raju Momin, Kalpesh Rakhonde, Somnath Wafgaonkar, Nagargoje, Santosh Pawar, Nitin Sudrik, and police naik Mushtaq Khan, Giramkar Anna, Khatal, Vilas Ambekar, Popat Gaikwad, Patole, Ganesh Sutar and Shivaji Lahakar.Modus Operandi
Suresh Umak's gang always targeted credit societies, nationalised banks but mostly co-operative banks branches without security guards or CCTV cameras, located in isolated places in the rural areas. Umak used to make new gang members by recruiting local youths so that they can help in the recce. After that he used to hide gas cutter, lpg gas cylinders, drill machine and other tools near the target bank days before the burglary. They used to strike on consecutive holidays especially Saturday and Sunday so that by the time theft is detected, they would have changed places. The gang used to enter inside the bank through windows and make hole in the safe so that the manual siren (in old safes)does not go off. Umak holds diploma in electronics and hence has knowledge of gadgets. He is an expert in using gas cutters but he did not impart the know how of cutting the safe without burning currency notes.
Umak, a native of Kamlapur in Morshi block of Amravati district, is active since 1991 and is reportedly involved in over 60 burglaries in Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. In almost all burglaries, his gang decamped with cash/ornaments worth lakhs of rupees. After his plastic surgery in 2010, he purchased a row house worth Rs 28 lakhs in Devlai area of Aurangabad and lived with his mistress, away from his four children and family members. He pretended to be income tax officer, doctor or road contractor to win confidence of people. Owned cars, invested heavily in lands, vehicles and fixed deposits in the name of others. Plastic surgery
With police of five States hunting him, Umak used to live with different names in different places. He lived in Indore and Bhopal by the name of Dinesh Kumar and Ashwin Joshi, in Aurangabad he identified himself as Om alias Sagar Raosaheb Deshmukh. In 2010, he underwent plastic surgery which made it impossible for cops to trace him with his old photos. He had an affair with a young woman but her family members were not in favor their marriage. So Umak made another man, Sagar Raosaheb Deshmukh, marry her and brought them to Aurangabad. He started living with the couple as Deshmukh's brother. Later on, Umak drove him out of house and started living with her as 'Deshmukh'. He even made bogus documents in his new name.
'Burglary' in money land
Almost wherever the Umak gang struck, they made away with cash/gold ornaments worth lakhs of rupees. In 2001, the gang had stolen Rs 16.66 lakh from Central Bank of India's Alephata branch in Junnar block, Rs 27.9 lakh from Bank of India's Theur branch, Rs 10.4 lakh from Urban Co-operative Bank's Akola branch, in 2002 the gang decamped with Rs 9.39 lakh from Indian Bank's Vapi branch in Gujarat. Among the recent case are Rs 32 lakhs burglary at Ahmadnagar District Co-operative bank and Rs 28 lakh from Wainganga Krishna Grameen Bank in Ratnagiri. They had also attempted to break-in two ATM centres in Pune district but failed.Alert farmer foiled Umak's plan
Gangadhar Dnyandev Shitole has sugarcane fields near the Pune District Central Cooperative bank's branch in Ranjangaon Sandas. On July 13 afternoon, while working in the fields, he stumbled upon three bags and gas cylinders. He immediately informed the police. On probing, police found a drill machine, gas cutter and other seized materials in the bags. Police suspected a robbery bid and laid a trap near the bank. At around 3 am on Sunday (July 14), a Ford Fiesta car (MH20BY2054) arrived and four persons alighted. The police team suspected their behavior and nabbed three of them while Suresh Umak escaped taking advantage of darkness and mud in the sugarcane fields. Based on interrogation of Umak's accomplices, police raided various places and finally nabbed him on Tuesday from a lodge in Nagpur