Police and jewellers found themselves at a crossroads on Saturday after Hyderabad SSP Haseeb Afzal Beg announced the arrest of two suspects, who had allegedly broken into a jewellery shop, at a hastily arranged press conference late Friday.
Controversy reigned supreme as the suspects, Imran Chandio and Yousuf, later claimed that the jewellery shop’s owner, Abdul Raheem Shaikh, was the mastermind behind the robbery.
Beg had said that police had detained two workers of the jewellery shop on the day of the robbery, and found nearly 5.25 kilogrammes of gold.
The incident took place on June 24 at the Baghban jewelry shop at Tilak Incline commercial area. The shop’s owner, Shaikh, at that time had claimed that jewellery sets worth Rs45 million had been stolen. Shaikh also said that he found out about the break-in in the afternoon and then called the police.
Police had registered an FIR against unknown suspects, but later nominated Chandio and Yousuf. Meanwhile, Shaikh was not booked nor taken into custody till the filing of this report.
Chandio told the police that he accompanied Shaikh and Yousuf as they entered the shop through the front door around 9 am, took away all the gold sets, and then left. “The shop owner later broke padlocks on the back door, to give an impression of a break-in,” said Chandio.
While explaining their intention behind organising the hoax, Chandio said that Shaikh’s daughter was demanding Rs20 million from her father. “Shaikh also had gold that belonged to other people which he would not need to return [if it went missing].” He also alleged that, according to their plan, Shaikh would gradually retrieve the gold from his home to give the impression that he was reestablishing his shop. Chandio added that he received Rs800,000 for his role in plan.
The Sarafa and Jewellers Association observed a strike and its members kept their shops closed on Saturday to condemn the inclusion of Shaikh into investigation.
Shahida Ansari, Shaikh’s daughter, claimed that Chandio and Yousuf were trying to implicate her father to save themselves. She denied Chandio’s allegation that she had sought money from her father, and claimed that she had been married into a well-off family.
SSP Beg claimed that necessary action would be taken against Shaikh if he was found involved in the incident.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 1st, 2012.
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