It could have been straight out of a movie: armed robbers shot a guard and hijacked a van carrying Rs 5.25 crore in Defence Colony on Friday afternoon, less than a kilometer from the local police station. The robbery took less than five minutes.The vehicle, a Maruti Suzuki Eeco, was heading towards an ICICI Bank cash vault in Lajpat Nagar when it was waylaid by a bunch of assailants thought by bystanders to be seven or eight in number.
“Three men, including two security guards, were driving down the D block in Defence Colony when a Hyundai Verna parked outside Nature’s Basket, a retail chain store, backed up and waylaid them around 1pm,” said a police officer.
The Eeco screeched to a halt, coming bumper-to-bumper with the white Verna bearing a Haryana number plate. An assailant, in the rear left seat of the Verna, shot one of the security guards, later identified as Munne Singh, square in the chest. Minutes later, the Eeco and the cash it was carrying vanished from the scene.
“Singh cried out in pain as his horrified co-passengers, Anil the driver, Ajab Singh the other security guard and Ashok the cashier, looked on. The assailants stepped out of the Verna, showering abuses on the others before forcibly pulling them out and throwing them on the street and fleeing in the cash van,” the officer said.
“There was another vehicle, parked next to the Verna when the holdup was in progress, which zoomed off behind it.”
Singh died in hospital later.
Both the elite special cell and the crime branch of the Delhi Police are working on leads and at the time of writing, the assailants had still not been caught.
A red alert has been issued and police barricades were in place across Delhi and border checkposts. Traffic across the city was reduced to a crawl.
The hijacked van, concealed under a large dirty blanket, was found abandoned in a bylane in the Hauz Rani village near Malviya Nagar, 8 km from the scene of the crime, two hours later. Police on the scene said the second vehicle could have served as a getaway car after the Eeco was dumped.
An ICICI Bank spokesperson said: "The van and the guard did not belong to ICICI Bank. They belonged to an organisation called Premier Shield Pvt. Ltd., which is a cash replenishment agency working for various banks."