Cash van driver, associate held for Rs 1.52 crore robbery in Dwarka
Four days after two men armed with only knives allegedly managed to abduct and rob R1.52 crore from a gunman guarding a cash van in southwest Delhi’s Dwarka, the police on Monday claimed to have solved the heist case and arrested two men, including the van’s driver, for the crime.
The other arrested man, Mohan Lal, who allegedly masterminded the heist, was wanted in a similar case reported in Patel Nagar last year when he and his three associates had attempted to rob a cash van. The vehicle belonged to the same cash replenishment company whose cash van was looted on Thursday in Dwarka, the police said.
The 35-year-old arrested driver, Dheeraj Puri, was part of that cash van robbery attempt as well. He played the role of an “insider” in both cases, though his involvement in the first crime never emerged during its probe even as two suspects were arrested by the Patel Nagar police, they said.
“We have recovered R 54.40 lakh of the looted money. The two suspects who had allegedly abducted the cash van’s gunman and driver and assaulted them before fleeing with Rs1.52 crore are still absconding,” said joint commissioner of police (western range) Shalini Singh.
Lal, was previously involved in two murders and as many robberies.
Joint CP Singh said that on November 21, the police control room received information regarding a cash van robbery outside Manipal Hospital in Dwarka. The two custodians of the cash had made the call, alleging they found the cash van missing when they returned after refilling money in an ATM in the hospital premises.
Minutes later, another call said the driver and gunman of the cash van were admitted to a hospital with injuries. The driver, Dheeraj Puri, told the police that two masked men armed with knives forcibly entered the van and accosted him and the gunman, Vijay Kant Mishra.
Puri said they made him drive the van around one-and-a-half kilometres to an isolated stretch in Dwarka’s Sector-11. There, the robbers took out the cash box and fled, abandoning the van and its two occupants, Puri told police.
A case was registered and investigation was taken up by several teams, the joint CP said.
An investigator said one of the teams scanned CCTV cameras installed around the crime scenes and the routes the two suspects took while feeling. The suspects were seen boarding an e-rickshaw and an auto to reach Uttam Nagar. Another team collected details of similar cash van robberies in the past and the suspects involved in them.
“The team working on past cases found that there was a failed cash van heist attempt of the same company in Patel Nagar last year and two of the four suspects were arrested in that case. The other two were identified but declared proclaimed offenders as they were evading arrest,” the investigator said.
While examining footage of cameras around Manipal hospital, investigators found that a white Accent car was suspiciously being driven about in the area during the crime. The car was found registered in the name of a Rohini resident, who told police the vehicle was being used by Mohan Lal.
“It was a crucial lead as Lal was involved in the Patel Nagar cash van heist attempt. Further probe revealed that two traffic e-challans against the car and pollution certificate were recently issued in Meerut, hinting Lal was in that area. We raided Lal’s possible hideouts and caught him from Delhi’s Rohini on Sunday,” said RP Meena, additional DCP (Dwarka).
Interrogation of Lal led to the recovery of Rs 30 lakh and the arrest of the cash van driver (Puri). “R24.40 lakh was recovered from Puri’s house in Burari. The remaining amount are with the two absconding suspects, one of who has fled to Nepal,” another investigator said.