A gang of motorcycle-borne criminals went around Noida shooting and robbing people with chilling impunity on Tuesday night, leaving a woman dead and a retired army officer with severe gunshot injuries. The suburban township was shaken and panicky the day after.
Four men on two bikes first robbed a businessman — and two passers-by — at gunpoint. They then tried to snatch the car of a retired lieutenant-general after shooting at him. Finally, they shot dead a former airhostess whom they also tried to rob. All of this in just an hour.
By the time the police swung into action, the gang had disappeared. Noida police chief A Satish Ganesh said, “We received information in reverse order — heard of the last incident first. That’s why the delay.”
The police believe the three incidents could be interlinked. “There is a possibility that the same gang was involved in all these cases,” Ganesh said.
There has been a steady increase in the incidence of crime in Noida over a comparable period last year: vehicle theft is up from 153 to 252, thefts from 109 to 124, and murders from 11 to 15.
Residents said they felt unsafe. “Law and order has always been an issue in Noida,” HK Garg of Sec 27 said. “So many incidents happening the same night is very scary.”
The first victim was a businessman in Sector 61. He was robbed at gunpoint, and two motorists who stopped to help were also robbed. The next victim, Lt General (retd) TJS Gill was stopped a few kilometres away, as he drove home from a party.
The robbers asked him for his car keys. He refused, and they fired three shots at him, hitting twice. The last victim was 26-year-old former airhostess Sheeba Thomas. They stopped her Accent car and tried to rob her.
She resisted and slapped one of the men, who then shot her dead. The National Commission for Women has sought action.