The driver of a van transporting Rs 22.5 crore in hard cash for refilling Axis Bank ATMs across south-east Delhi disappeared with the booty on Thursday evening in one of the Capital’s biggest heists, police said.
A hunt was launched after SIS, the private security agency hired by Axis Bank to transport cash, rang up police control room around 5.30pm to inform that one of its drivers fled with a Mahindra pick-up van stashed with money on the way from Vikaspuri to Okhla.
An hour later, police traced the van fitted with a GPS tracker system near the Okhla industrial area. The bag inside a metal box containing the cash was missing.
South East district DCP MS Randhawa said several teams were working to catch driver Pradip Shukla, who is from Uttar Pradesh and had joined the agency recently.
Shukla had left the bank’s Vikaspuri office along with armed guard Vinay Patel around 3.30pm. When they reached Captain Gaur Marg near Govindpuri around 5pm, Patel asked the driver to stop as he wanted to go to the washroom.
As he got down, Shukla told him that he would keep driving and return because parking the vehicle there might cause a traffic jam. “Patel said the van never came back and he called the bank after waiting 10-15 minutes,” an officer said.
Police were scanning CCTV footage to check if Shukla got into another vehicle after abandoning the van in Okhla. They suspect the driver alone could not have pulled off such a crime. Or was he waylaid by robbers when the guard left him alone?
Axis Bank assured that the cash was “fully insured” and “neither the bank nor the customer would get affected”. It said the van didn’t belong to the bank and the driver was not its employee.