Day on, robbers untraceable
Probing into the broad daylight dacoity of 2kg gold from a wholesale jewellery godown-cum-office in Ghumar Mandi here, the police have found that the accused escaped via the Southern Bypass in their Toyota Fortuner SUV and were untraceable after they reached Doraha.
Based on the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage from shops and hotels, the police said the SUV bearing a fake registration number of Rajasthan disappeared from the roads after reaching Doraha, raising the suspicion that the accused had changed the vehicles there to escape after hiding or abandoning the SUV.
Police commissioner Rakesh Agrawal said that four teams have been formed to trace the accused. The police have been investigating the case from all aspects, he said.
Sources said the police have been questioning Neeraj Kumar, an employee of the godown of VK Jewellers. Sources also stated that the police have identified some of the robbers.
In his statement to the police, Vijay Jain, owner of VK Jewellers, said he had just reached the office on Wednesday when the robbers had overpowered Neeraj at gunpoint. As he entered in the shop the robbers pounced on him and tied him with tapes. He said the robbers snatched and locked their mobile phones in the safe and took away the keys before fleeing. Jain said the accused had silencers attached to their guns.
Sources also said the victim had dialled 100 to inform the police, but to no avail. Later, he dialled 112 from his mobile phone, but to no effect. Later, he had walked to the police station to inform the cops.
The Division Number 8 police have registered an FIR under Sections 392 (robbery) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Sections 25, 54 and 59 of the Arms Act against the accused.
BURGLARIES, SNATCHINGS A NORM FOR TRADERS IN BUSY MARKET
The broad daylight dacoity, wherein four armed miscreants looted VK Jewellers in the Ghumar Mandi market after holding its owner captive at gunpoint, has brought to the fore the lapses in security arrangements in one of the busiest markets in the city. The incident occurred at a stone’s throw from a police naka in the market.
Shopkeepers of Ghumar Mandi said they are used to burglaries and thefts now. They said a day before the dacoity, a gang of burglars had targeted three shops at the Ghumar Mandi chowk and decamped with cash, a matter which was reported to the police as well.
Madhur, a local trader, said his bag containing a laptop and documents was stolen from his car near Khalsa College for Women. “I complained to the police. Even the suspects were captured on the CCTV cameras, but the police did nothing,” he said.
Shopkeepers at Pearl Palace and nearby areas said they had come to know about the incident only when the owner of VK Jewellers, Vijay Jain, had raised an alarm and called the police. The police had barricaded the road near Pearl Palace, but they too didn’t notice anything.
Jugal Kishore, president of Ghumar Mandi Malls and Shopkeepers Welfare Society, said, “The security arrangements in the market are inadequate. There are a few traffic police personnel, but even they are merely mute spectators.”
Kishore said, “Former Ludhiana police commissioner RN Dhoke had initiated foot patrolling in the area, which had led to a drop in the number of such incidents. As the officer got transferred, the scheme died down.” Kishore also raised the issue of rehris in the market and appealed to the police to remove the rehri pullers who “have no police verification”.
Anand Sikri, president of Ludhiana Jewellers’ Association, said that though VK Jewellers was not a member of the association, they were concerned about the security and safety of jewellers. Sikri said despite repeated requests, the police had not made any security arrangement near Fountain Chowk either.