As the top cops were busy observing IPS week in the state capital, two motorcycle-borne assailants robbed around Rs 50.5 lakh after killing three staff members including two armed guards of a cash replenishment agency here in Hasanganj police area in Lucknow on Friday afternoon. The incident took place outside a HDFC bank’s ATM located in crowded Babuganj locality when the agency staff had come to refill the cash.
The incident created panic among local residents, as the brazen assailants conducted several rounds of firing apparently using semi-automatic pistols and fled easily after collecting the bag containing cash. Many people were present near the crime scene but onlookers remained mute spectators following the indiscriminate firing by the assailants.
The three deceased were identified as two agency guards Arun Kumar Singh (50) and Avinash Shukla (35) and the cash refilling staff, Anil Singh (40). Three others including Anupam, who was present along with Anil inside the ATM room, the cash van driver Shailendra Tiwari and the ATM guard Alok Chandra Mishra however were unhurt.
The police suspected that the assailants had not crossed IT crossing and took a road heading towards Lucknow University hostels barely 100 meters from the spot. Cops carried out extensive checking of the hostels but failed to get any clue till last reports came in. SSP Yashasvi Yadav however said that the police have found the assailants’ video footages and photographs grabbed by a CCTV camera of a near-by sweets shop.
An eyewitness told the cops that the two assailants were covering their faces with a helmet and scarf. He said the duo was apparently chasing the cash van and they stopped the motorcycle outside the ATM when the two guards were standing outside after pulling down the shutter while Anil and Anupam were refilling the cash in the machine.
The eyewitness said the assailants opened fire on the guards first, as they were holding the guns. He said the duo later entered the ATM room after pulling up the shutter and immediately opened fire on Anil, who was holding the cash bag. In the meantime, Anupam ran away from there and was unhurt. The cash van driver, Shailendra Tiwari and the ATM’s unarmed guard, Alok Chandra Mishra were also present outside but they were frightened and preferred to remain away from the assailants.