Armed robbers loot Rs.50 mn and 1 kg gold from armoured van (Lead)

May 21st, 2008 - 9:19 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi, May 21 (IANS) In the biggest heist of its kind in Jharkhand, a gang of over a dozen men, suspected to be Maoist guerrillas, looted Rs.50 million and a kg of gold from a bank van Wednesday afternoon, abducted two guards and shot two of the policemen chasing them. Fourteen robbers hijacked the armoured van of ICICI Bank near Salgidih in Tamar block, around 70 km from here, as it was coming from Jamshedpur to Ranchi on its daily run to stock the ATMs in the state capital, senior police officials said here.

They drove the van to a secluded spot, emptied it of Rs.50 million and one kg of gold, packed the loot in bags and made their way to a nearby forest, kidnapping two of the van guards as well.

On being informed, a police team chased the robbers into the forest, where a gunfight took place, the police officials said. One head constable and driver of the police vehicle were injured. They were taken to the Ranchi Institute of Medical Science (RIMS).

Alok Kumar, Block Development Officer (BDO) of Tamar block, said: “The robbers arrived on three-four bikes when the van driver had stopped his vehicle and two guards were outside. The robbers started firing in the air. The guards ran away.

“The driver and one security guard are still missing and it is understood that they were abducted.”

The police suspect that the security guards who had left the armoured van contrary to all security drills could be in cahoots with the robbers.

The police also suspect the role of Maoist guerrillas in the robbery. “The way the delivery van was hijacked indicates the role of Maoist rebels in the incident,” said a police official.

This is the largest-ever heist of its kind in Jharkhand. Last year, some people had robbed around Rs.17.5 million from the Ranchi branch of the Syndicate Bank, but they were killed within five hours of the incident and the money recovered.

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