The owner of the shop in Mansa Devi Complex where Ranpreet Singh alias Rana, the alleged mastermind of the Rs 1.53 crore-dacoity at the nearby Rajat Jewellers, worked until early 2014, remembers him as “a salesman with an innocent face who took time to understand things”.
The shop was located on the second floor of the building adjacent to Rajat Jewellers. It sold power solutions and has since relocated.
The owner, who does not want to be identified, said Rana, a BTech, joined his shop in 2013 and worked for about a year before he was sacked early in 2014 for inefficiency.
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“Woh bada bhola-sa lagta tha. I am shocked to learn that he could have planned such a big dacoity. It is hard to believe, as he was one of those people who took a long time to understand things. We had to tell him about a certain task repeatedly, and then he would do it,” recalled the owner.
According to the Mohali Police, it was during his stint at the shop that Rana got familiar with the area and identifed Rajat Jewellers as a target for the dacoity, which his gang carried out in July 2014.
The shop owner said Rana was quiet by nature, and never quarrelled with anyone. “He never asked for more money. We used to give him Rs 12,000 per month,” the owner added.
Mohali Police says Rana, who belongs to a village near Banur, is involved in four big dacoities and one robbery in the Tricity. He stayed in a rented house in Mataur village in Mohali.
The police tracked him down from the visiting card of a fitness centre it found in the SUV that the gang used in its latest dacoity of Rs 1.34 crore from the cash van of a bank on March 9. The fitness centre belonged to Rana’s landlord who had no idea of his tenant’s activities.