In a well-planned robbery of `9 lakh that lasted less than four minutes, four masked men barged into a Central Bank of India automated teller machine (ATM) kiosk at Babhat village in Zirakpur after midnight on Sunday, uprooted the machine using iron chains tied to Mahindra Thar SUV, bundled it into the same vehicle and fled towards SAS Nagar.
A few hours later, a team from the Sohana police station recovered the damaged ATM at a deserted spot in Kambala village with no trace of Rs 9 lakh that had been loaded into the machine just three days ago on February 11. The ATM is located at the entrance of the village on the link road and is near the sales tax barrier as one enters Zirakpur from Chandigarh.
GUARD LET THEM IN
“Around 1.30 am on Saturday, a man knocked at the shutter of the kiosk. I asked him to come at 5am as we have instructions to allow visitors only after that time. The man claimed he needed money due to an emergency. I opened the gate at his persistent requests, only to be confronted by four men with covered faces who overpowered me. I was locked inside the service room at the kiosk,” the guard at the ATM, Prabhu Dayal, a native of Uttar Pradesh, and a resident of Shivalik Vihar, Zirakpur, told the police. Dayal said he had called the police after he managed to come out of the kiosk through the roof.
Based on Dayal’s statement, the police have booked four unidentified accused at the Zirakpur police station under Sections 457 (trespass), 380 (theft) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The police claim that the robbers entered the kiosk at 1.38 am and by 1.42 am, they had decamped with the machine. The guard told the police
that the robbers had masked their faces and were wearing gloves, probably to ensure that they left no fingerprints or traces.
“The accused drove to Kambala village in Sohana, where they broke open the ATM and made away with `9 lakh loaded into it,” said Derabassi DSP Arshdeep Gill.
Central bank of India branch manager Shivani Kumari said `11 lakh had been loaded in the machine on February 11.