Chandigarh: Rs 14-crore jewellery robbed in broad daylight

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: May 02, 2016 13:45 IST
Police officials at the shop on Sunday afternoon. (Karun Sharma/HT Photo)

In a broad daylight dacoity in the heart of the city on Sunday, two men and a women, all in their 20s, looted a jewellery shop of Rs 14.08 crore in diamond and gold ornaments after locking up owners in a room at gunpoint.

The shop, Forever Diamonds, which also goes by the name of Shiva Jewellers, adjoins an outlet of fast-food chain Hot Millions-2 in Sector 17-C and has other top hotels in its lane.

Rajneesh Verma (40), the co-owner of the shop, said that the robbers, one of whom had ordered a Rs 3 lakh diamond ring on Saturday, entered the shop around noon.

Shocked members of owners’ families. (Karun Sharma/HT)

“One of the miscreants insisted that the size of the ring be corrected as he needed it delivered right then. I sent a worker to Sector-35 to get the size corrected. Meanwhile they asked for a ring for the woman,” Rajneesh has told the police.

He added that as his brother, Vinod Verma, went to the strong-room to get the rings, one of the men put a revolver to his (Rajneesh’s) head, asking for all valuables to be packed in a bag, they were carrying, and handed over to them.

“We were locked in a room adjacent to the strong-room. Finally, we broke open the door and informed the police around 12.45pm,” Rajneesh said, adding that the miscreants passed on instructions in English, Punjabi and Hindi.

“Prima facie, it seems like a well-planned robbery. The robbers arrived before the jewellery and ornaments were put up for display and were still in the strong room. This made it easy for them to carry more booty far more quickly,” said a police source. “The robbery was over in a few minutes.”

CCTV cameras disabled

Police said the hard-disk of the close-circuit television cameras (CCTV) was missing from the shop. Officials were scanning footage from neighbouring shops to get some leads.

An official claimed that the trio was seen in a camera installed at the Ghazal Hotel, but the miscreants were yet to be identified.

As part of their investigation, station house officer Udaypal Singh was questioning employees of the shop. A call centre functioning from the shop premises at night has also been asked to furnish details of all its employees.

A case under Section 392 (robbery) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under Sections 25-54-59 of the Arms Act has been registered against unidentified miscreants at the Sector-17 police station.

Sketch being readied

The sketches of the accused are being readied. Rajneesh has told the police that one of the men was dressed like an NRI and had spiky hair. The other was sporting a small beard, and the girl dressed in a traditional Indian suit.

‘Contradictions emerge’

The police, however, said contradictions had emerged in the case, as the crime scene, the time of the robbery, and the time the police were informed did not add up. “Most of the jewellery items were insured. We are checking records to find out the total loss,” said a police source.

Police officials said they were trying to reconstruct the crime scene to know the route used by the accused to escape from Sector 17.

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