Despite 10 police squads carrying out investigation in various parts of the city, the department still has no clue to the six robbers who decamped with Rs 3-crore gold from an unguarded finance-company office at Rama Mandi here on Monday.
The squads comprising cops from Rama Mandi, CIA wings and Nangal Shama police post are working under separate assistant commissioners of police (ACP). A special investigation team (SIT) headed by additional deputy commissioner of police (ADCP-I) Jasvirr Singh and comprising ACP (central) DD Sharma, Rama Mandi station house officer Naresh Kumar Joshi and CIA-2 head Inderjeet Singh has also been set up.
The cops are scanning closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage at various commercial establishments, but have still not zeroed in on the registration number of the three vehicles, including two motorcycles and a Honda Activa scooter, used by the robbers.
On the basis of CCTV footage available and the fact that the robbers were talking in Hindi, the cops believe the crime to be a handiwork of migrants. While some teams are visiting places having large population of migrants to identify the accused, others are retrieving details of former employees of this branch since it started its operations here in 2010.
The police reportedly interrogated the company’s assistant head, Naresh Kumar, and marketing agent Varinder Singh throughout the night at the Rama Mandi police station. On Tuesday morning, police commissioner Arpit Shukla visited the spot and talked with the employees.
Meanwhile, a case has been registered against the six unknown men under Section 392 (robbery) and 382 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Arms Act.
In the FIR, Naresh Kumar stated that at 12.25pm on Monday, he besides another employee Ankit Gupta and NRI customer Ram Lal were at Manappuram Finance Company’s Rama Mandi branch on the Hoshiarpur highway when the robbers came in and took them hostage.
“Two men came in posing as customers and Gupta locked the scissor gate behind them as is practice,” Kumar said. “When I took them to my cabin, another four men knocked at the gate, and as soon and Gupta opened it, they pointed a gun and a knife at him and the customer. The two men in my cabin pounced on me for locker keys.”
He said they took him to the strong room and forced him to open it at knifepoint. “They filled their two black bags with the ornaments and the money and pushed the three of us into the washroom, which they couldn’t close because it didn’t have a bolt on the outside. They also took away our mobile phones,” stated the assistant branch head.
No need to worry: Firm
The Manappuram Finance Limited said on Tuesday the gold stolen from the Jalandhar branch is fully insured. In a press release from Thrissur, Kerala, the firm said the customers will not be put to any loss. Company’s assistant head Naresh Kumar said the entire record of looted gold has been handed over to the police. Earlier, after the news of the robbery appeared in papers, worried people rushed to the branch. As per the records, a total of 528 people had kept their gold ornaments at the branch. Baljinder Kaur, a resident of Rajinder Nagar, said she had deposited her earrings, rings, necklace and other ornaments to take a loan for sending her husband to Qatar. “I have already paid 70% of the loan,” said Baljinder. Rajinder Kaur of Jandu Singha said she had kept 40-gm gold ornaments to take a loan to purchase property.