The Muthoot Finance office in Durgapur. Picture by Arup Sarkar
Durgapur, Feb. 1: Eight armed robbers broke into the office of Muthoot Finance in the heart of Durgapur this afternoon and took away gold ornaments and coins worth about Rs 5 crore after overpowering the guard.
The robbers also took away Rs 14 lakh in cash and the CCTV so that it becomes difficult for police to trace them.
The police said this was the biggest heist in Bengal in recent years.
The daylight robbery in a busy market area took place within 500 meters of a police outpost.
The police said two of the robbers, both in their mid-20s, entered the rented office of Muthoot Finance in Benachity around 3.15pm posing as customers and asked one of the employees how to apply for a loan.
“The youths spoke in Hindi. After I explained the process, one of them said he would speak to a partner and started talking over the cellphone,” the employee said.
Within 15 minutes, six more youths arrived at the office on the second floor of a three-storied building.
“One of the youths pulled out a revolver and snatched the gun of the guard. The robbers threatened to blow up the office if we raised the alarm,” the employee said.
The robbers held guns to the heads of some of the customers, took the vault keys from an employee, stuffed gold ornaments into rucksacks and fled.
The 20-odd customers and employees alerted people outside around 30 minutes after the robbers fled. The passers-by informed the police.
“We are interrogating the customers and employees and have alerted neighbouring police stations,” said Sunil Yadav, the additional deputy commissioner of police (east division).