Two youths hurled red chilli powder in the eyes of a cyclist and snatched Rs 1.5 lakh from him on Ballygunge Circular Road on Tuesday morning.
Sunil Jadav, 27, was to deposit the money in a nationalised bank on behalf of the owner of the petrol pump where he works. The duo sped away on a motorcycle.
Damayanti Sen, the joint commissioner of police (crime), said the incident occurred around 11.20am.
“Jadav had left the petrol pump on Sarat Bose Road with the money and was cycling towards the Ballygunge Circular Road branch of a nationalised bank to deposit it. He was attacked near the office of the Automobile Association of Eastern India,” said Sen.
According to the police complaint lodged by Jadav, he saw the two youths walk towards him.
“When they were close to my cycle, one of the riders threw a fistful of red powder at my face. My eyes started burning and I could not see. Someone snatched the bag containing the money from my hand. I barely managed to open my eyes and see them zoom away on a two-wheeler that was parked beside the road,” he stated.
On hearing Jadav’s screams, shop owners and pedestrians rushed to his aid. “The duo disappeared before local people could chase them,” said an officer of the detective department.
The police said Jadav was working at the petrol pump for eight years. “His employer never had a reason to suspect him of any wrongdoing. That was why he used to go to the bank to deposit the money collected at the pump,” added the officer.
At least eight similar snatchings had been reported in the city three years ago. Most of them took place in the central business district, said an officer of the detective department’s snatching wing.