Three days after a Punjab National Bank ATM containing Rs 18 lakh at Dappar village, 20 km from the city, on national highway-21 near Lalru, was uprooted and carried off in a mini-crane (recovery van), the SAS Nagar Crime Investigating Agency (CIA) has arrested a 31-year-old Mauli Jagran resident, Dharminder Singh, for involvement in the crime.
Police have also named four others — Ranjit Singh, Dharam Raj alias Dhamma, Krishan Kumar alias Ballu and Pittal — all residents of Mauli Jagran. Ranjit is allegedly the kingpin and is facing around 150 cases of theft and loot in Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The police claim the gang is the infamous ‘Shutter Gang’ that had broken into 50 shops to steal cash boxes from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Panchkula, Mohali, Solan, Ambala etc, over the past two months.
The Maruti Esteem and the recovery van used in the October 16 crime has been recovered, but the police are yet to recover the ATM and the money. During interrogation, Dharminder has claimed that the money and the ATM machine had been taken away by Dharam Raj and Ranjit Singh. The case was registered on a statement from PNB manager Navtej Singh and CCTV footage was also checked.
FAMILY OF ACCUSED PELTS POLICE WITH STONES
SAS Nagar SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar said when a team of SAS Nagar and the Chandigarh Police went to Mauli Jagran to arrest the accused in the wee hours of Wednesday, family members pelted stones at the cops. The mob even threw LPG cylinders and taking advantage of the chaos, Dharminder fled from the spot and was later arrested from Baltana in Zirakpur. Eight members of the accused’s family were booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC.
“We will soon recover the machine and the money as well,” said Bhullar.
MASTERMIND RELEASED ON BAIL FROM AMBALA JAIL IN JULY
Later, Dharminder confessed that they were five members in the gang that had come to be called the ‘shutter gang’ with their mastermind as Ranjit.
“I and Ranjit were released on bail from Ambala in July this year. We used to steal cars from one city and use these in another city to break open shutters of a shops and steal cash. Over the past two months, we have stolen over five cars and broke into 50 shops to steal cash box from Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Panchkula, Mohali, Solan, Ambala etc,” Dharminder has told the police.
The buildings they targeted were mostly abandoned houses, chemist, hardware and confectionery shops.
A day before the heist, they had stolen the Esteem and the recovery van from Kharar for use in the crime.