On the 30th of December, a beautiful Sunday, people of Chelembra, Malappuram, Kerala, India were getting ready to celebrate a happy new year. They didn’t expect a robbery to take place and that too in a way which was totally unpredictable and pretty much queer in its own way.
It was a local bank(graminā bank) in Chelembra residing on the second floor of a building. The culprits planned for months and rented the entire first floor with fake IDs and put up a board that they’re about to open a restaurant and the renovation is taking place. To convince the locales, they even bought real furniture and it was all set like they were really working on a restaurant but in fact, they were drilling a man-sized hole up to the second floor where the Vault room of the bank is. This is very planned and the mastermind behind the plan would have gone to the bank several times and know every corner of the bank.
In the early hours of the 30th December 2007, the robbers drilled directly into the vault room. They bagged all the gold and cash which was worth around 80 million (8 crores) Indian Rupees. A vault room door safeguards from earthquakes and many disasters. It gives a shock when drilled on it. But when drilled directly into the vault room without having to deal with the door is a gift for the robbers. It’s the exact thing they’re waiting.
Their plans didn’t stop at just robbing the bank. They had plans to divert the investigation team. They wrote “Jai Mao” ( Hail Mao) on the wall of the bank to make it look like a Mao-ist (Naxalite). It did create the diversion but the flaw in their plan was when they interacted with the locales to create believability. The locales did remember the face of the man who rented the first floor and helped the police draw a computer-generated sketch of the leader. It was sure that it’s not a work of maoists.
The police were back on track and traced them to Hyderabad. But again, it was just a deception. The robbers manipulated and diverted the police to Hyderabad. The police had tracked all the calls made during the time of the robbery and rounded a few numbers. The robbers knew this and used the same numbers from Hyderabad and many other cities across India. They even left a bag of gold in a lodge in Hyderabad to divert the cops and make them look around the Hyderabad while they are somewhere else enjoying the money they robbed.
But on the 28th of February 2008, the robbers were arrested and most of the loot was recovered. The Kerala police also tracked a secret number they used to make calls. It turned out to a turning point in the case and helped them to catch the robbers who were residing in Kozhikode, Kerala. The police acted quick and saw through the deception. But the robbers did everything they could and planned in a very innovative and smart way, we should give them that at least.
This robbery had been sensational news when the caught robber said he was inspired by the Bollywood movie Dhoom, where the antagonists dig up a tunnel to a bank. This is one of the biggest heists ever took place in India and have also inspired another robbery in Cheruvathoor.
Besides the fact that it is a robbery and it is wrong, the story is so interesting that it definitely grabs the audience of people when one narrates about it. So the word of mouth helped the robbery to become an interesting tale. This can make a great movie!