Robbers decamp with Rs 5 lakh in daylight heist

In a first since the demonetization drive was launched, three armed bike-borne assailants carried out a daring heist at an SBI ATM, camping off with Rs 5 lakh in new currency from east Delhi’s Pandav Nagar area on Monday. The cash van had arrived at about 2.30 pm.

According to police sources, the three assailants first tried to snatch the cash bag from a guard and custodian. Preliminary investigation revealed that the duo attempted to thwart the attempt, but the assailants opened fire. The van’s security guards retaliated by firing in the air. The assailants then fled with one bag with Rs 5 lakh in new Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 notes, leaving behind Rs 40 lakh inside the van.

According to eye-witnesses, only two assailants got off the bike while the third remained seated. Police said the suspects cannot be identified as one of them was wearing a helmet, and the others had their faces covered.

The van’s security guard said they were taking out Rs 5 lakh to replenish the ATM when the assailants arrived. “Three persons arrived on a motorbike. One of them overpowered Krishan Kumar, gunman of the cash van. The other assailant snatched the briefcase with the money from custodian Abdul Kadir,” said DCP (East), OP Bishnoi.

Sources said the SBI ATM in question had not been functioning for the past one week. It started functioning on Sunday evening. “The ATM was last replenished around 20 days ago. Five persons were present inside the van that started off from Janakpuri. They refilled money in three ATMs — two in Preet Vihar and one in Shakarpur — before arriving at Pandav Nagar,” they said.

Police believe the assailants may have been following the van from a distance. This, however, can only be verified after checking the CCTV footage from surrounding localities. The footage, now in possession of police, showed that two persons, including the custodian and the van’s in-charge, went inside the ATM a few minutes before the incident. The driver, gunman and another custodian were inside the van at the time of the incident.

“The second custodian took out the cash bag and was walking towards the ATM when two assailants snatched it from him,” sources said.

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