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Mohali lawyer held for robbery at bank; was in debt, say police

The absence of a guard and security alarms had made the crime a cakewalk for Manjinder.

punjab Updated: Jul 27, 2017 10:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, SAS Nagar
Mohali bank robbery,Bank robbed at gunpoint,Punjab
Police presenting accused Manjinder Singh before media in Mohali on Wednesday. His licensed .32 bore pistol used in the crime and the money looted from the bank can also be seen. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Within hours of Rs 7.6-lakh armed robbery at an unguarded State Bank of India branch in Mohali, police arrested a 30-year-old lawyer, who has been practising at the district courts, for the crime.

Manjinder Singh, who studied at Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, before completing postgraduation from the law department at Panjab University in 2013, was staying in a rented accommodation at Sunny Enclave in Mohali. He was arrested late on Tuesday night from his house.

Hailing from Ferozepur, Manjinder committed the crime to pay off debt he owed to several people, said deputy superintendent of police Alam Vijay Singh. What proved to be his undoing was the false complaint of vehicle theft he made to the police control room soon after the broad daylight robbery at the Industrial Area, Phase 7.

Bumper, broken number plate fell off

A masked man had targeted the bank at 2.20pm on Tuesday, when there were only five staffers present on the premises. Pointing a pistol at the cashier, he made him put money in a bag, and then rushed out of the bank towards a Volkswagen Jetta car parked a few metres away.

As two bank employees chased him and tried to stop the car, the vehicle’s bumper fell off along with a part of the registration number plate. The robber, however, managed to flee. The whole drama ended in just over five minutes. “Manjinder called the police control room at 2:35 pm to report that his vehicle has been stolen from the market,” said Mohali senior superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh Chahal.

Half an hour later due to nakas put up at various places, the accused abandoned his car on the rear of North Country Mall and left for his house in Sunny Enclave, said police.A patrol team found the abandoned car and got suspicious.

After searching the documents and matching the broken piece of the number plate, they called Manjinder to collect his stolen car. Using the mobile location, they managed to trace and arrest him.

Money, licensed weapon recovered

Police have recovered the money and Manjinder’s licensed .32 bore pistol used in the crime and impounded the car. The accused was produced in court, which sent him to two days police remand. He has been booked under Section 382 (theft after preparation made for causing death, hurt) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and relevant sections of the Arms Act.

The absence of a guard and security alarms had made the crime a cakewalk for Manjinder. SSP Chahal said banks need to upgrade their security system. “We have held several meetings and even issued written directions to banks managers to deploy security guards, but to no avail,” he said.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 16:27 IST