Three men suspected to be involved in the Pandav Nagar ATM cash van heist have been arrested, the Delhi police said on Monday. Rs 10 lakh were stolen from the van in east Delhi on December 19.
According to the police, the men were arrested based on multiple inputs, including from gangs with similar modus operandi, and CCTV footage. “The police received a tip-off that the accused will be coming near the Cross River Mall on December 25. A raid was conducted and three people — Bittoo, Sunny and Rohit — were apprehended in an Accent Car on Sunday,” said DCP (East) Omvir Singh.
Singh added that the police managed to recover Rs 9.48 lakh from their possession. “We also recovered an improvised pistol and a Pulsar bike stolen from the Kashmere Gate area and used for the robbery,” he said.
Police said the accused had gone to Haridwar after committing the crime and had recently returned to take stock of the situation. Prime accused Sunny worked as a cab driver, and had kept an eye out for the ATM cash vans in the area of Karawal Nagar.
“He observed that usually, each van had four to five staff members. He then conceived the idea to loot a cash van and discussed it with his friends Rohit and Bittoo, who was working as a driver with a BSES official near V3S Mall in Preet Vihar,” Singh said.
They first stole a Pulsar bike and fixed a fake number plate on it at Bittoo’s place. They arranged for the weapons with the help of a person identified as Ravi, who lives in a rented accommodation in the New Usmanpur area. Police said the men had tried to rob a van a day before as well but that attempt failed.
On December 19, the cash van started from Janakpuri in west Delhi and then came to east Delhi to replenish the ATMs. CCTV footage from the market areas of east and west districts were collected to determine from where the accused started tailing the van, the officer said.
“Around 12.30pm, the cash van deposited money in a Corporation Bank ATM of Janakpuri. From there it went to Nirman Vihar, and the accused followed. But there was a huge gathering of rickshaws and e-rickshaws outside the ATM there and the accused decided against executing their plan,” Singh said.
“They followed the cash van to an SBI ATM in the Shakarpur area. There was a long queue outside the ATM and the accused realised they might not be able to escape, so, they dropped the idea,” added the officer.
Finally in Pandav Nagar, Bittoo remained in the driving seat while Sunny and Rohit went to the cash van and fired rounds in air. They thought that the numberplate might be flashed by the police, so Bittoo dropped Sunny and Rohit and sent them with the cash bag in an auto.
“He left the motorcycle near the Hassanpur Depot and went to the BSES Office near V3S Mall. After hiding the cash in their clothes, Sunny and Rohit threw the empty suitcase somewhere and took another auto to reach Vivek Vihar, where they divided the cash equally,” Singh added.