Four men walked into a Ghaziabad bank on Wednesday, stuck a gun to the head of the branch manager and ordered the cashier to hand over the money. Within minutes, they were out of the building with Rs 15.13 lakh.
The men, who are said to have been brandishing guns, wore no masks, though they took care to switch off two public cameras in the bank. But one-and-a-half minutes of the incident was recorded.
Witnesses said the four men, all aged between 20 and 25 years, melted into the mid-day crowd after the heist at the Maliwara branch of Zila Sehkari Bank Ltd.
The 12.15pm incident came hours after district magistrates in Uttar Pradesh took over as the administrators of the Zila Sehkari Bank units throughout the state.
The robbers first held branch manager Sanjeev Kumar Dohre hostage. One of them fired a bullet, which got lodged in a wall of Dohre’s cabin, apparently to scare customers and other staff members.
Ashish Goel, a customer who was in Dohre’s cabin, said: “They entered the building and took the manager hostage. And then, one of the men fired a shot to scare all of us. Another pushed me and told me to lie on the floor.”
The other robbers then went to cashier Phool Singh’s chamber. “One of them pointed a gun at me and told me to take out the cash. He then hollered for the people in the bank to lie down on the floor. They bundled the cash into a bag and inside their T-shirts and shirts,” Singh said. “They left after shutting the grille door,” he added.
The robbers then fled on foot and disappeared into the by-lanes of the Maliwara market near the Old Bus Stand.
There were no security guard at the bank, police said.