Three men who allegedly robbed a Meerut trader of Rs 25 lakh were nabbed after a dramatic four-hour gun battle between them and 100 policemen in the thick sugarcane fields at Modi Nagar here on Thursday.
The fourth accomplice in the robbery is on the run. Vikas Chandra, Pradeep Sharan — both from Baghpat — and Amit alias Vicky from Delhi were arrested. Both Pradeep and Amit sustained multiple gunshots, while Vikas was arrested unhurt.
All four men are said to be 25-30 years old.
“They were referred to a multi-specialty hospital in Ghaziabad. Two of our personnel got injured, including one who was hit by a bullet in his thigh and chest. They are under treatment. Nearly 40-50 rounds of fire were exchanged during the entire operation,” said Dharmendra Singh, senior superintendent of police (SSP) at Ghaziabad.
Aas Mohammed, the trader who was allegedly robbed, said four car-borne men blocked his car on Kharkhoda Road at around 10.45 am.
“First, the robbers hit my car and it derailed. I continued driving, but they shot at my window. They then cornered my car and pointed a gun to my head. I had no option but to hand over the bag containing `25.5 lakh which was to be delivered to a nearby factory,” he said.
Mohammed, who lives in Shyam Nagar in Meerut, was driving along with two other men. Later, they informed the police.
The Meerut police then raised an alarm, and the men were spotted in a car at Upper Ganga Canal in Ghaziabad, about 30 km away from Meerut.
“As soon as the police van spotted them, they abandoned their car and ventured into the sugarcane fields. Several cops followed them and one constable suffered a gun shot. They also escaped with his Insas rifle, but we managed to snatch the cash bag from them,” a police officer said.
After this, a reinforced police team combed the fields.
“On and off, there were rounds fired from either side and the robbers ventured deeper into the sugarcane fields,” a police official said.
Cops said the robbers fired one shot from the stolen Insas, but it got jammed.
“A young villager arrived on his tractor and drove through the muddy and thick fields, scanning for the robbers. We gave him a bullet-proof jacket and the policemen took cover behind the vehicle and combed the area,” police said.
Following extensive search, the three robbers, including two injured, were nabbed from different locations.
The police also recovered two 9mm pistols and other arms from the accused. The stolen Insas rifle was also recovered.
“Search is on for the fourth accused. We are also trying to procure the criminal history of the accused,” the SSP added.