In the second gold heist in Lucknow in two days, seven English-speaking armed men robbed gold worth Rs. 5 crore from Muthoot Finance company in Alambagh, holding eight staff members captive.
The day before, two Meerut based jewellers were held at gunpoint and robbed of jewellery worth about Rs. 1 crore at Chowk market.
The heist at the Muthoot Finance office - barely 300 metres from the Alambagh police station – began immediately after it opened at 8.30am.
Equipped with firearms and knives, five masked men barged into the office after accounts assistant Neetu Tripathi and peon Sarvesh Kumar opened it. Two accomplices stayed outside, keeping guard, and alerted their partners inside whenever any staff member arrived.
They locked the staff members including branch manager AS Tiwari, cashier Parikshit, two accounts assistants Rajesh Kumar and Swati Singh, sanitary worker Mayawati and security guard DP Singh in the bathroom and the kitchen one by one. Tiwari was the last to arrive. The guard was unarmed.
Opening the strongroom with Tiwari’s keys, the men collected ornaments only from six drawers and fled without opening the rest. On their way out, they also took away the video recorder system of CCTVs. The whole operation took a little over an hour. The robbers, however, did not harm anyone.
Though the kitchen has two doors, the employees were frightened to come out as the robbers had threatened to kill them. They came out of the room by opening the second door that was bolted from inside at least half-an-hour after the robbers had fled. The staff informed the police around 10am.
The strong room contained gold worth Rs. 10 crore, Tiwari later told the police.
“The crime branch and the Special Operations Group have been deployed to investigate the case. We are trying to trace the robbers after registering an FIR in the matter,” said senior superintendent of police J Ravinder Goud.