In a broad daylight robbery at gunpoint, five miscreants looted Rs 17.5 lakh from the personnel of a cash-handling company when they were refilling cash at an ATM of Punjab National Bank at the Civil Hospital Road on Monday. The ATM is just 300m away from Rupnagar City police station.
The miscreants had prior knowledge of the route of the van and struck when cash was being loaded into the ATM. One of the guards on watch outside the ATM, Makhan Singh, is lucky to be alive after a bullet shaved past his head.
ROBBERS USED AN i20
Sources said the five robbers, who were on a Hyundai i20 with registration number PB10H-4042, stopped near Kohli Medical Store on the road about 12.10pm. A lone robber stayed inside the car and kept the ignition on, with the other four assaulting the cashvan staff standing guard outside the ATM.
Two of the robbers were carrying pistols and fired at the guards when they resisted. One of the guards fired back, the police said.
After this short encounter, the robbers entered the ATM and took away Rs 17.5 lakh. This included a suitcase containing Rs 10 lakh meant for loading into the ATM and Rs 7.5 lakh already inside the machine, the police said.
Before fleeing towards Bela Chowk, the robbers snatched two 12-bore rifles from the guards.
ALSO TARGETED CASHVAN THAT CARRIED RS 2.5 CRORE
After collecting the loot from the ATM, the robbers also wanted to drive with the cashvan that was carrying Rs 2.5 crore.
However, the driver Kashmir Singh had locked the van and offered enough resistance to the robbers to make them flee. One of the robbers was also injured in the firing, a source said.
As the news spread, senior police officials, including Rupnagar range deputy inspector general Gursharan Singh Sandhu, SSP Varinder Paul Singh, SP (investigation) Harpal Singh Sandhu and SP (headquarter) Wazir Singh Khaira reached the spot.
SSP Varinder Paul Singh said investigation had begun.
A case has been registered under Sections 397 (robbery or dacoity, with attempt to cause death or grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act at the Rupnagar City police station.