In one of the biggest heists in the capital, armed men on Friday looted Rs 5.25 crore from a van carrying cash for ATMs in broad daylight from a posh south Delhi locality and fled after shooting a guard.

Four to five men in a Hyundai Verna car intercepted the Maruti Eeco van carrying cash in the upscale Defence Colony at around 1:30 pm, dragged out four men in the vehicle at gunpoint and shot at one of the two security guards who resisted them. The injured guard Munni Singh, who was rushed to AIIMS, is in a critical condition.

Police said the cash was taken from ICICI Hauz Khaz branch in south Delhi by Premier Shield Pvt Ltd, an agency engaged by various banks to replenish ATMs, and was being brought to Lajpat Nagar area, a few kilometres away when it was waylaid. The gunmen then fled in the cash van.

The brazen action, on a busy street in D-Block of Defence Colony which houses several shops of designers and near the Lajpat Nagar Metro station, was over in a few minutes, eye- witnesses said.

There was no money in the cash van which was later found abandoned, police said, adding a massive manhunt has been launched to trace the robbers.

A statement by ICICI Bank spokesperson did not say whether the robbed money belonged to the bank. It said, “the van and the guard do not belong to ICICI Bank. They belong to an organisation called Premier Shield Pvt Ltd, a cash replenishment agency, and they work for various banks.” There was no response from Premier Shield.

The robbers left their car bearing Haryana registration number - HR 26 AQ 0051 - and within a short span, they also abandoned the cash van - DL 1 RT 2088 - in Hauz Rani area in Malviya Nagar, a few kilometres from the spot.

Police said they might have escaped in another vehicle, which shows that the robbery was executed in a well planned manner.

“The forensic team has visited the spot. They have taken samples. We are investigating the matter,” Vivek Gogia, Joint Commissioner of Police (South-West) who also visited the spot, said.

(This article was published on September 28, 2012)
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