CRIME WATCH: Daylight heist on highway – Armed men stop car and snatch away Rs 27 lakh – an inside job of passing on information or outside criminals who kept excellent tabs ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Islampur, Dec. 6: An armed gang in an SUV looted more than Rs 25 lakh from the staff of a petrol pump, bound for the bank in a car, on the national highway near Islampur this afternoon.
Police said the employees of the petrol pump at Nalbari in Chopra had been coming to the State Bank of India branch in Islampur when the incident occurred at Kalibari on NH31, 4km from here.
The bag containing Rs 27.54 lakh was being carried by Mohan Jha, the head accountant of the petrol pump, who was accompanied by driver Krishna Kanti and an unarmed security guard Ashis Saha.
“I had noticed that a silver-coloured SUV was behind us for most of the way, but did not pay much attention to that. Suddenly, the SUV overtook us at Kalibari where the road was clear of traffic and screeched to a halt, forcing us to stop the car,” Kanti recounted.
Two persons alighted from the SUV brandishing guns and pointed them at the occupants of the car. The gang members got hold of the car’s keys and snatched the bag from Jha. “They auto-locked the car (WB-74 4298) and drove off towards Islampur,” said the driver.
The police suspect that the SUV could have entered Bihar’s Kishenganj district from Putia More that is just 2km from Kalibari on NH31.
Jha said the cash collected at the pump was quite frequently deposited in the bank in Islampur and till today, no one had tried to follow and rob them. “We could not chase them as they had locked up our car and taken the keys with them. The robbers stopped us at a spot where there was no one and they completed their job in an instant,” said the head accountant.
He said the manager of the pump had been informed about the robbery and word was also sent to the police stations at Chopra and Islampur. The police started looking for the SUV and subdivisional police officer of Islampur, Indra Chakrabarty, visited the spot. The three pump employees were taken to the Islampur police station where they were questioned.
The operating manager of the pump, Sandip Bihani, said cash had been deposited in the bank in similar manner earlier also. “I have informed my superiors about the incident. The cash comprised the proceeds of two days’ sale,” he said.
The pump is 45km from here.
The subdivisional police officer said the armed robbery was a matter of concern. “We are investigating the case and have also got in touch with the Kishenganj police. We have got the registration number and description of the SUV and are trying to trace it,” said Chakrabarty.