Diamonds worth nearly Rs 6.6 crore were stolen from an exhibition in Mumbai but the daring heist was cracked in less than a day with three Mexicans including a woman and a Venezuelan, who had swallowed the stones, being detained on Tuesday at the Dubai airport.
The breakthrough for the Mumbai police was achieved with the help of Interpol after Dubai police swooped on the four jewel thieves on their way to Hamburg when they landed in the Emirate city.
The four foreigners were suspected to have been involved in the theft of the 887.24 carat on display in a box at an international exhibition here last evening.
Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil said on Tuesday night, "The accused had swallowed the diamonds and medicine was given to purge the valuables out."
The accused identified as Ms Guerrero Lugo Elvia Grissel, 24, Campos Molan Elias, 39, Gonzalez Madlonado Mauricio, 24, --hail from Mexico-- and Gutierez Orlando of Venezuela were detained in the wee hours on Tuesday at the Dubai airport as a look out notice was issued by the Interpol following the theft case registered at Goregaon (East) Police Station in Mumbai, Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy said.
The four are being brought to Mumbai, Roy said. A Non-Bailable Warrant was issued against the four foreigners by a local court and the accused would be shown under arrest after they are brought to the city.
According to police, the theft of the diamonds belonging to Israeli company Dalumi Group occurred on Monday evening at the India International Jewellery Show at NSE ground in suburban Goregaon despite tight security and surveillance.
The group had put up a stall at the five-day exhibition that ended on Tuesday.
"We were informed by UAE authority that the diamonds stolen from the show were recovered. We are awaiting for the formalities to be completed so that we can send our team there," Roy said.
He did not give details how they were recovered though a senior police official said there was a strong possibility that the stones may have been swallowed by the accused.
According to police, though foreigners were allowed to visit the show even if they were not associated with gems and jewellery business, the four foreigners gained entry claiming they were involved in the same business.
"At around 4.30pm, while the three men engaged in a talk over the diamonds with an employee of Dalumi group which had a stall there, Grissel had picked up a box with the 887.24 carat diamonds and hid it in her bag," Roy said.
Initially, Dalumi's salesman thought it might have been misplaced. As they could not find the diamonds, they lodged an FIR with Goregaon (East) Police Station, Roy added.
"After studying the blurred CCTV footages, the movements of the four of about 1,500 visitors at the show yesterday were found to be suspicious. Later it was found that the woman had stolen the precious stones," he said.
As organisers had photo identities and other details of the accused, the immigration officials at the Mumbai airport were alerted but by that time the accused had flown to Dubai in an Emirates flight at 10.30pm, the crime branch chief said.
"They were to fly to Hamburg in Germany from Dubai," Roy said adding that, "We are also probing if the four had a local help here. Going by the way they had carried out the heist, it seems that they would have had conducted a reccee and crime was also committed in the last day of the show."
With inputs from PTI