A meticulous investigation by members of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) in Grand Baie, supported by information from the Police Main Command Centre (PMCC), has cleared up a robbery at the Western Union branch in this coastal village on the morning of Monday 4 December. Two masked gunmen burst into the office and made off with Rs 700,000. The two men, Suriadev Callechurn, 52, from Camp Ithier, and Dhananjay Mookia, 42, from Arsenal, were arrested. The latter incriminated his sister, Simla Jootun, 36, of Saint Joseph, Arsenal, who had been entrusted with the loot. Laldhun Jootun, 47, was also arrested. After taking possession of the money stolen from his wife, he in turn handed Abdula Obedy Kausmally, a 41-year-old resident of Pamplemousses, over to her to hide. A sum of Rs 430,000 was recovered.
The five suspects were brought before the Pamplemousses court on the morning of Tuesday 5 December on provisional charges. Suriadev Callechurn and Dhananjay Mookia, contractors, are charged with armed robbery. The other three suspects have been charged with illegal trafficking. They have all been returned to police cells.
The case of armed robbery was reported to Grand Baie police station by a 24-year-old woman from Roche Terre, who was in charge of the agency. In her complaint, she explained that at around 8.20am on Monday 4 December, she was at her post when two men wearing masks and armed with sabres burst into the office. Under threat, she said she was forced to hand over the sum of Rs 700,000 in foreign currency and Mauritian rupees to the two thugs.
As soon as the police were alerted to the robbery, all the machinery was put in place. A radio message was sent to all police stations and units on patrol. Roadblocks were set up in the northern part of the country where the motorbike on which the two men were riding was seen and followed by surveillance cameras. On the route de L’Amaury, a motorcyclist matching the description of one of the two robbers was spotted. His red Suzuki motorbike was stopped by a team of police officers from the Emergency Response Service and the Tracking Team. The driver matched the reports provided by the PMCC. This individual was seen in the vicinity of this Western Union branch before and after the robbery.
A search of his person revealed two swords. After being confronted with the two weapons and informed of his rights, he chose to remain silent. He was taken to the Grand Bay CID office led by Inspector Dooshan Thakoor where he was confronted by the Western Union cashier and the security guard on duty. These two people identified him. His interrogation led back to his accomplice, Dhananjay Mookia at Arsenal. Mookia was quick to confess. After describing his involvement in the affair, he incriminated his sister, Simla Jootun, to whom he had given a bag containing money. Simla Jootun confessed that she and her husband, Laldhun Jootun, had received the money from her brother. Laldhun Jootun said she had gone to the village of Pamplemousses to hand over the loot from the robbery to be hidden in a safe place.