Daring bank robbery foiled, three injured in shootout (Lead)

January 5th, 2009 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 5 (IANS) In a daring daylight robbery attempt, four assailants tried to rob a south Delhi bank, but were forced to flee after customers put up brave resistance. But a few hours later some of the attackers returned and shot at three people, including two constables, before being overpowered.According to police, four men - Imtiaz, Majid, Ahmed Sayeed and Kiranpal - all in their mid-20s, armed with pistols landed outside the Central Bank’s branch in Krishna Market of Kalkaji area on a black Pulsar and a Discover bike around 1.30 p.m.

The police said Imtiaz went inside the bank while the other three stood guard outside. He placed his pistol at bank manager P.C. Baroouah’s head and asked the customers and cashier to hand over all the cash.

“He came quietly and put a gun on my head. There was a lot of commotion, but soon an elderly gentleman overpowered him,” said Barooah later.

The brave customer, 75-year-old M.K. Kapoor, a resident of Kalkaji, grappled with Imtiaz and held on to him while other customers called the police.

“When I overpowered him, he put the gun on my chest and asked me to set him free and stand quietly. He said he respects me a lot as I am old and didn’t want to hurt me,” Kapoor said.

“I along with two-three other customers managed to take him outside the bank. But he managed to escape after firing a shot in the air,” Kapoor, a retired government official, said.

Imtiaz fled on the Pulsar bike, while the other three escaped on foot before the police could arrive at the spot.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (southeast Delhi) Ajay Chaudhary said three-and-a half hours later Majid and Sayeed returned to collect their Discover bike parked outside the bank.

“The policemen in civvies who were inspecting the scene found the two suspicious and asked them to prove their antecedents. The assailants in a bid to escape opened fire at the police,” Chaudhary said.

Three people - head constable Ashok, constable Vikram and a tea seller Raj Kumar - were shot at in the firing. The police retaliated fire and overpowered the men.

Till late in the evening it was not clear how many rounds the police fired. The arrested men tipped-off the police about Imtiaz’s whereabouts, and he was later arrested from near the Kalkaji temple.

The police said the accused have also confessed to committing robberies in Hauz Khas and Kalyanpuri area. Search is underway to nab the remaining man.

The injured are recuperating in the Trauma Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. The police are also probing the role of the bank guard in the episode.

The police said the four men hail from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. Police have seized the two motorbikes and three country-made pistols from them.

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