In the heart of Lucknow, a daylight murder-robbery on Monday, just metres away from the Governor’s and Chief Minister’s residences, has the police scrambling to increase its defences.
At around 3.40 pm, a motorcyclist came upto a van depositing cash at the Bandariyabagh branch of Axis Bank in Hazratganj, shot dead a security guard, injured a custodian and made away with cash. While the police are not sure how much cash was stolen, it is estimated to be around Rs 6 lakh.
Police identified the victims as Indra Mohan and Umesh Chandra Sharma, both in their 30s. While Mohan died soon after the crime, Sharma was taken to King George’s Medical University where his condition was said to be serious.
Van driver Ram Sevak, who escaped the attack, said, “We were in the van with the door closed and window open when a man with his face covered came upto the front seat passenger side and fired. One hit Mohan. He shot at me but missed and I ran towards the bank, crying for help. The assailant took two cash bags and was about to flee when the Sharma tried to intervene. The assailant shot him in the leg.”
At this point, Sevak said, the assailant dropped one bag and fled with the other. “I took the other bag to the bank,” said Sevak.
The van was parked on the service lane opposite the bank, which meant that anyone who had to transport cash from or to the bank would have to cross the road.
“I was just following the instructions of the custodian who did not want the van parked on the main road,” said Sevak.
The incident happened just a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the city. Police are questioning the driver and Axis Bank employees who were present in the bank at the time of the incident.
Meanwhile, DGP O P Singh and other senior officers visited the spot and formed six police teams to trace the assailant. The Special Task Force has also been roped in to investigate the case.
SP (east) Sarvesh Mishra said that the CCTV footage they have got for now were not of much help as they were not of good quality. Some people who claimed to be eyewitnesses gave the possible number of the bike motorcycle but, when traced, turned out to be wrong.
Police have also recovered a single empty cartridge from the scene of the crime.