Police reach spot 45 minutes after being informed; locals nab one of the accused
In yet another broad daylight robbery in Panchkula,three armed men decamped with Rs 6 lakh from the shop of a Vita distributor,Vinod Jain,in Sector 18 on Saturday.
While two robbers managed to escape from the spot with the cash,Neeraj,a resident of Colony Number 5 in Chandigarh,was nabbed by local shopkeepers. He was later arrested and a revolver and five live cartridges were recovered from him.
Jain told Newsline: Around 1 pm,three youths,carrying revolvers,barged into my shop. I was calculating cash collected from retailers in Chandigarh and Panchkula. While one of them kept guard outside,the two latched the shop from inside. One of the men took me to a corner at gunpoint while another started collecting the cash. Hearing his cries,local shopkeepers rushed to Jains rescue.
Jain was rushed to the General Hospital in Sector 6 where he was admitted with serious head injuries.
Dr Naresh Mittal,Jains partner said: All Vita retailers throughout Chandigarh and Panchkula would hand over cash to Mittal since he is a distributor. He,in turn,gave the cash to the company. That is why the daily collection totalled to nearly Rs 6 lakh.
The alleged police inaction
The police reached the spot nearly 45 minutes after being informed. Panchkula Superintendent of Police Amitabh Dhillon said most personnel were deployed at the Navratra Mela,leading to the delay.
Local shopkeepers,meanwhile,blamed the robbery on the lackadaisical attitude of the police. Dharam Singh Saini,a shopkeeper in the market said: As soon as we found out what was happening,we dialed 100 only to find ourselves connected to the Chandigarh Police instead of the Panchkula police. We then rushed towards the sector roundabout to inform the PCR van that is supposed to be stationed there,but there was none. We then rushed to the Sector 16 police station.
While Vinod Jain cried for help and onlookers acted as mere spectators,Vikas Bindal gathered courage and rescued the victim. Bindal,who runs a flour mill in the market,said: The moment I heard his cries,I rushed to his shop and found two armed youths beating him up. I rushed to help him without any second thought.
The police version
Talking to Newsline,Amitabh Dhillon said: Police patrolling in the city has been intensified manifold these days to maintain law and order in the city. He said the police were investigating the role of an unidentified woman carrying a child who visited Jains shop minutes before the incident.
The involvement of the three men in other cases of robbery in Panchkula is also being investigated,a police officer said requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile,Deputy Superintendent of Police Ram Chander Rathi said: While Neeraj has been arrested,initial investigations have identified the other two men as: Vikas and Rajkumar,who are absconding. Neeraj would be produced in court on Sunday and taken on police remand. A case under Sections 394 and 397 of IPC has been registered.