Barely 24 hours after a heist at a house in neighbouring Panchkula, another group of four robbers struck at a scrap dealer's house in Madanwala village of Pinjore in Panchkula district on Tuesday night, and took away Rs 1.9 lakh cash and some jewellery. No less daring than the Panchkula heist, this one was certainly more creative - the robbers posed as a raiding party from the CBI.
And to add insult to injury, a house in Panchkula proper also witnessed a daylight robbery, as a woman was threatened on knifepoint and forced to give away her jewellery.
At Pinjore, the plot was straight out of the recent Akshay Kumar hit 'Special 26'. Around 9.30 pm, when scrap dealer Vinod Kumar had gone to pay obeisance at a temple, the four men went to his house where his wife Maya Devi, daughter Sarita and grandson Sanjay were present. After gaining entry as sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), they held the family hostage at gunpoint, tied them with a rope and forced them into a room.
After the robbers were done raiding the cupboards - took away cash Rs 1.9 lakh, a gold ring and also some artificial ornaments - and left, the family somehow freed themselves and called the police.
"We have registered a case under sections 392 (robbery) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Teams have been sent to surrounding areas," said Pinjore station house officer (SHO) inspector Raj Kumar. Panchkula deputy commissioner of police (DCP) Ashwin Shenvi also inspected the spot.
In Panchkula's Sector 19, robbers struck when 40-year-old housewife Girish Singh was taking rest and her son Ritesh, around 20 years old, was taking bath. The house gates were open, and the two masked men entered, one brandished a knife and the other collected her asked her to remove her ornaments. She handed him her gold chain, bangles and mangalsutra (necklace), and they fled.
Shocked, Girish screamed for help after they left, at which her son came out and called the cops. A case was registered. Girish's husband Anil Kumar works in a local factory.
Why the spurt? Probable reasons
Panchkula is surrounded by Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana, and miscreants easily sneak into the states after the crime.
The entire district has just 700 police personnel
Project to install CCTV cameras has run into rough weather; resident associations have been asked to do it instead.
"The number of robberies is on a par with other districts. Sometimes there's a spurt in crime and sometimes there is a dip. We will contain it; need to pull up our socks."
Rajbir Deswal, commissioner of police (CP), Ambala-Panchkula