A Gang of seven or eight men, carrying sharp-edged weapons and a pistol, looted Rs 5 lakh from a cash van outside a State Bank of Patiala branch at Khuda Ali Sher on Friday morning.
From the way the crime was committed, the gang seemed to be a bunch of novices.
The accused arrived in a Fortuner SUV, which bore a Chandigarh registration number, following the cash van which had to deliver two cash boxes at the bank. While one of the boxes was safely taken inside, the gang struck when Jagtar Singh, a guard in the van, was taking the second box inside.
Five men got down from the SUV, surrounded Jagtar, showed him sharp-edged weapons and a pistol, and asked him to hand over the box.
Van driver Sohan Lal said, “Jagtar refused to hand over the cash, following which the men started pelting stones.”
The bank’s security guard Mohan Singh Mann noticed the commotion, and rushed to save the box, but was hit with a brick. Jagtar fired a shot with his rifle in the air, but the men managed to snatch the box and escape. The box contained Rs 5 lakh.
As soon as the police were informed, the entire top brass, including SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill, reached the spot. “We have certain clues and will be able to arrest the accused soon,” he said.
The van had more boxes, carrying more than Rs 65 lakh, which remained untouched.
Two hours after the incident, the empty cash box was found on the Kaimbwala road. The SUV was found abandoned in Sector 4 of Panchkula later in the afternoon. The police found brand new hammers, the lock of the cash box, and red pepper in the vehicle.
One of the tyres of the SUV was punctured and shopkeepers on way from Chandigarh to Panchkula, Sector 4, told the police that they had seen the SUV with the punctured tyre being driven at a high speed.
On investigation, it was found that the SUV had been stolen from Amandeep Singh alias Rinku, driver of a Chandigarh-based rice trader, near Shambhu barrier on June 22. The men who took away the SUV had come in an i20 car.