Stepped up security arrangements ahead of the Republic Day led to the Ghaziabad police nabbing a wanted man following a late-night gun battle and car chase near the Ghaziabad Police Lines on Sunday night. The arrested accused turned out to be one of the accused involved in a Rs.1.08-crore robbery outside a bank in Raj Nagar in June last year.
According to police sources, two men in an i10 car hit a barrier near Police Lines and sped towards the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) area on Govindpuram Road as there were security checks on National Highway (NH) 24, NH58 and Hapur Road.
“A team from the Kavi Nagar crime branch was alerted after the security barrier was broken. The car was chased for over a kilometre after it sped towards the PAC area. Seeing the police vehicles chasing them, the two men in the car fired nearly seven to eight rounds at the police, which retaliated by firing six to seven rounds,” said Ajay Pal, superintendent of police (SP).
“We were on alert as the Govindpuram area houses PAC and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion complexes,” SP added.
Sources said police managed to catch one of the men, identified as Ankit Dixit, after the car reached a roadblock near Gaur Homes highrises close to the PAC area. The other man in the car, however, managed to escape in the dark. Police also seized a 9mm and .315 calibre weapon from Dixit, a Delhi University graduate from DAV College.
Police sources said that Dixit hails from Tulsi Niketan in Ghaziabad and is a member of the Chotu Pahadi gang. He also carries a reward of Rs. 25,000 from the Delhi police. Dixit is also alleged to have been involved in the robbery of Rs.1.08 crore outside a Ghaziabad bank in June.
Pal said that Dixit had told them, “On the day of the robbery, the four of us were inside the same i10 car (from which he was caught on Sunday). Two of us went inside the bank and saw two persons coming out with cash. Later, when they came out, we grabbed the bags and escaped in their car. The other members later arrived near a park in Raj Nagar in our car and we left, leaving the robbed car behind.”
A police officer said that Dixit was rusticated from college in his second year after picking a fight. Thereafter, he completed his graduation through correspondence.
The gang’s involvement in the bank heist had come to light after Pahadi was arrested by Delhi police last year. The Ghaziabad police later identified Pahadi, Dixit, and two others – Deshraj and Rahul – as being involved in the robbery.
“Pahadi was remanded to police custody in January and nearly Rs. 5 lakh of the robbed amount was recovered. (Further) Rs. 3 and Rs. 2 lakh were recovered on the instance of Rahul and Deshraj respectively. All the three accused are presently lodged at Tihar Jail in Delhi,” a police officer said.