By promising Canadian visa for three persons, a self-styled travel agent and his accomplices divested a Kapurthala farmer of Rs 52 lakh and his car on Saturday night.
While there was no trace of the robbers and the money, the Maruti Swift car was found abandoned in Sector 22 on Sunday.
The Mohali police registered a case of dacoity against so-called travel agent Wazir Singh Rana, his ‘business partner’ Harry, and ‘four to five others.” According to complainant Punjab Singh, a farmer from Dham village in Kapurthala, one of his nephews was deported from Canada five years ago after he was found living there illegally. Over there, he had come in contact with Rana who, too, was deported.
Around four months ago, Rana told him that he had become a travel agent and could help in sending Punjab Singh’s nephews Varinder Singh, Manjinder Singh, and Harpreet Singh to Canada. They met at a flat in Sector 50, Chandigarh, and finalised the deal at Rs 17 lakh per person. Punjab Singh said he paid Rs 84,000 per person to Rana as advance and also gave his nephews’ passports.
The police said that 15 days ago, Rana called Punjab Singh and told him that the visas for his nephews had been finalised and their flight to Canada from Delhi was scheduled for the morning of November 30.
On Saturday, Punjab Singh sent his nephews to Delhi and he himself, along with four other nephews, came to the Sector 50 flat and showed the money to Harry, who counted it. But Punjab Singh insisted that he would pay the money only after his nephews in Delhi confirmed that they had got their travel papers.
Harry then asked them to accompany him to Zirakpur. He offered to drive Punjab Singh’s car as he knew the way. Apparently, to separate the victims, he asked two of Punjab Singh’s nephews to get off at a dhaba on the Zirakpur-Patiala road to get some food packed.
He took the other three to Swastik Vihar where he took Punjab Singh inside while the remaining two — Sukhdev Singh and Baldev Singh — waited in the car with the cash. Soon, a Mitsubishi Lancer car arrived and four or five persons, armed with baseball bats and rods, attacked them.
Hearing their cries, Punjab Singh and Harry rushed outside. Amidst the confusion, Harry allegedly drove away the Swift, in which the money was kept, as he had the keys, while the assailants fled in their car.
The victims informed the police who issued an alert, but could not trace the accused. In the morning, the Swift was found parked in Sector 22. The three men who had gone to Delhi, hoping to travel to Canada, returned disappointed.
The police booked Rana, Harry, and others for dacoity, attempt to cause death or grievous hurt, cheating, and criminal conspiracy at the Zirakpur police station. SHO Deepinder Singh said that they were conducting raids to nab the culprits.