A day after police arrested eight men for the `1.34 crore robbery in SAS Nagar, their kingpin Ranpreet Singh Rana alias Titu on Thursday revealed that he formed the gang while in Patiala jail and executed the robbery plan after training his men while out on bail.
Besides Ranpreet, Joginder Singh, 38, and Tajwinder Singh alias Channi, both residents of Sohana, SAS Nagar; Lakhwinder Singh, 27, of Ludhiana; Gurvinder Singh Lalli, 25, and Rahul Kumar, 22, of Neelpur village, Rajpura; Parminder Singh, 31, of Sector 23, Chandigarh; and Buta Geer, 22, of Seampur village, SAS Nagar, were arrested on Wednesday for allegedly carrying out the `1.34-crore robbery from a cash van of Axis Bank in Sector 85 on March 9.
Spilling the beans in custody, Rana also said he chose SAS Nagar for committing the crime as he was familiar with all its escape routes, besides being aware of functioning of SAS Nagar and Rajpura police, as he was held several times for thefts and burglaries. However, still ensuring that nothing was left to chance, he conducted extensive recce and monitored the cash van’s movement, he added. A senior police official said Ranpreet trained his aides through small-time burglaries, which ultimately enabled them to commit the `1.34 crore robbery.
While confirming the accused’s past criminal record, Patiala SSP Gurmeet Singh Chauhan said some of the gang members, including Ranpreet, Buta, Parminder and Talwinder, were arrested in 2012 and the police had recovered LCDs, cylinders, two stolen cars, generators and laptops, from their possession. They were then sent to the Patiala Jail.
Meanwhile, the police have registered a fresh FIR under Sections 399 (making preparation to commit dacoity) and 402 (assembling for the purpose of committing dacoity) of the IPC and section 25/54/59 of the Arms Act. The FIR says the police received a tip that the accused were planning a dacoity and had weapons also, following which the police conducted raids and nabbed the accused at 4:35am on Wednesday.
Another pistol recovered
Superintendent of police (detective) Gursharandeep Singh Grewal said another pistol had been recovered from a field in Sekhann Majra village where the accused had abandoned the stolen SUV.
He added that the accused were on Thursday produced in a Kharar court that sent them to four-day police custody.
Meanwhile, the police are yet to recover `5.7 lakh of the booty from the robbers.