Man steals cargo container of integrated circuits worth $4.4m after employer refuses to lend him $30,000

Rajagopal Tashnamurthi, 56, was sentenced to 30 months jail for theft on Thursday (Nov 3).
Rajagopal Tashnamurthi, 56, was sentenced to 30 months jail for theft on Thursday (Nov 3). PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - After his employer refused to help him with a loan, Rajagopal Tashnamurthi decided to steal from them. What he took however was worth far more than the $30,000 he needed to pay back loansharks.

He came up with an elaborate plan to steal an entire cargo container of integrated circuits worth $4.4 million.

The 56-year-old, who was on Thursday (Nov 3) given 30 months jail for theft, ended up with the $30,000 debt after being forced to go to loansharks to pay his friends for losing their winning 4D ticket.

The then traffic controller with MES Logistics (MES) tried to take a loan from his employer. He was unhappy at the rejection.

On Jan 29 this year, Rajagopal's colleague prepared the container movement list for deliveries on Feb 3. Within the list was a cargo container destined for Texas Instruments.

He asked one Vinoth Rajendran if he could provide transportation services involving 24-footer lorries equipped with tailgates. He promised to recommend Mr Vinoth as MES' permanent transport contractor.

Rajagopal arranged with Mr Vinoth to transport the goods to be stored at a warehouse temporarily, claiming it was the busy Chinese New Year period and MES could not cope with its orders.

Mr Vinoth asked Mr Vijayan Thayanathan to help as the latter's uncle had a warehouse space in Mandai Estate.

Rajagopal met both men on Feb 1 to discuss the terms of the transportation job. He also told an MES driver to collect the cargo container from Tanjong Pagar Port and park the cargo container along Changi North Crescent.

The integrated circuits were transported by another logistics company to Mandai Estate where Mr Vinoth and his friend were waiting. The pair loaded the pallets of goods into their lorry.

Two days later, the theft was reported to the police.

Rajagopal fled the country and was arrested on May 13 when he flew in from Manila.

Among the aggravating factors cited by Deputy Public Prosecutor Rachel Lee were the extremely high value of the stolen items; Rajagopal's property-related antecedents and his abuse of trust as an MES employee.