Three armed men looted 11kg gold ornaments worth more than Rs 3 crore on Saturday afternoon from Muthoot Fin Corp Limited here, in the biggest heist after the 1987 bank robbery in Ludhiana, in which Sikh militants had taken away Rs 5.7 crore.
Consumers had pledged this gold with Muthoot for loan. The masked robbers executed their plan in just 10 minutes after striking around 4.30pm at Tripuri, one of busiest areas of Patiala. “They barged into the company office, took employees at gunpoint, grabbed their mobile phones, and severed all communication lines and emergency sirens before opening the lockers and decamping with gold jewellery and Rs 2.5-lakh cash. Before coming in, they sprayed the surveillance cameras with black paint,” said an eyewitness.
Without any hint of panic, they got away on a Honda Activa scooter, so swiftly that even the neighbouring shopkeepers came to know only after the police came over to investigate. The police sealed all exit points of the city and was searching every vehicle, with no clue, so far.
“Some of the Muthoot employees told us the robbers had locked up company manager Darhsan Singh in the bathroom and put tape on the mouths of two woman workers, before tying them to their chairs,” said inspector general of police (Patiala range) Paramjit Singh Gill, adding: “One of the women managed to free her hands and alerted the police control room.”
One of the robbers kept an eye on the hostage employees, while the other two cleared the safe of ornaments and put those in a bag. The police have gathered the surveillance camera footage, fingerprints, and other details from crime scene. “They way it was planned, it seems more than three people were involved,” said Gill.