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PNB heist in Ghaziabad: Robbers dodged sensors, cops suspect ‘inside job’

PNB HEIST: Punjab National Bank officials say sensors were working, last checked on June 9, Ghaziabad police deny claim, scan CCTV footage

noida Updated: Jun 14, 2017 10:46 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times, Ghaziabad
PNB Bank Modinagar,Robbery at PNB Bank,Ghaziabad bank robbery
The thieves made a two-feet-wide hole to enter the strongroom and broke open 30 out of 435 lockers.(Sakib Ali/HT Photo)

The Ghaziabad police are still struggling for clues in the burglary at the ‘Kapda Mill’ branch of Punjab National Bank on Sunday night. What has left the cops puzzled is how the burglars bypassed movement sensors and knew where to enter the strongroom.

The thieves made a two-feet-wide hole to enter the strongroom and broke open 30 out of 435 lockers. The hole had been drilled at a height of nearly six feet through a wall between the strongroom and an empty office at the back side of a tyre manufacturing rubber factory, which shut operations in 1993.

Branch officials said that the sensors were last maintained and checked by an agency on June 9. However, Modi Nagar police officials said that the sensors installed on the entrance of the strongroom did not work when they checked them on the evening of June 12, the day the burglary was discovered.

“It is suspected that the burglars knew that the sensors were installed at the main door of the strongroom as they did not touch it. If they would have touched it then alarm would have gone off. The sensors activate at 9pm after the branch closes. It seems that burglary took place before the sensor system could be activated,” said Ashok Srivastava, branch manager.

Bank officials also claim that all eight CCTVs installed in the branch, including the one inside the strongroom, were in working condition. However, police said that only five of the eight were working.

According to police, they have got some clues from a CCTV installed in the branch.

Investigators said that the burglars entered the bank strongroom around 7.10pm on Saturday. “They stayed in a small abandoned room behind the strongroom for nearly 12-13 hours. Before deciding to bore the hole, the burglars had tried to dig up a tunnel to the bank strongroom below the ground level. But they hit a strong concrete wall through which it was difficult to cut through. So, they decided to cut a hole in the wall ,” an investigator said.

The bank officials have not given an estimate of valuables lost as of now.

“We are working on leads from the CCTV. The burglary looks well-planned. It was done either by a professional gang or with help from someone who knew about the bank functioning. Apart from some movement seen in a CCTV footage, we have no other major clues,” said HN Singh, senior superintendent of police, Ghaziabad.

The police also said that there were three PCR vans on duty at erstwhile NH-58 but they had no clue about the robbery as none of the alarms went off.

According to sources, out of the 30 lockers that were targeted, several belong to reputed city traders and the estimate of losses could run into crores. Angry customers, who lost their valuables, cornered bank officials on Tuesday and raised apprehensions over whether their valuables will ever be recovered.

First Published: Jun 14, 2017 09:54 IST