A 70-year-old mukhiya, on his way to Delhi via Patna for a surgery, lost Rs 12 lakh when his briefcase was lifted from his car near Mahavir Mandir on Tuesday.
Arjun Prasad Singh, the village head of Shahpur panchayat in Nawada district, said the money and documents relating to his impending heart surgery was kept in the briefcase in his SUV.
Singh had come from Nawada, around 120km southeast of Patna, with his driver and nephew in a white SUV on Tuesday. He was supposed to undergo a bypass surgery at the Gurgaon-based Medanta Medicity later this month. According to Singh’s statement to the police, he was supposed to board the Patna Rajdhani Express at 7.25pm on Tuesday.
Since the trio reached the state capital early, Singh asked his driver Dilip Ram, working with him for the past 10 years, to take him to Mahavir Sthan where he could spend time at the temple. Initially, the mukhiya had told the police that he was supposed to go to Delhi alone but he later told The Telegraph that his nephew would have accompanied him to the national capital.
“My nephew Pappu was accompanying me to Delhi. The money and medical documents were kept in a briefcase on the back seat of my SUV. We got off the car in front of the temple around 10am. Since there was no parking space available near the temple, my driver said he would find a space a few metres from the temple. We entered the temple premises, while the driver took the car,” Singh told officers at Kotwali police station.
Asked whether he would continue his journey to Delhi, he said: “I would not be able to. The money was for my surgery and my heart condition is not good at all. I don’t know what to do.”
Police officers said the driver had parked the SUV in front of a market complex. “The driver parked the car in front of Marwari Awas on Frazer Road near Dakbungalow roundabout. He said he was listening to music on the driver’s seat when, around 10 minutes later, he heard a loud thud at the back of the SUV.
He felt someone had hit the car from behind. He got off the car and checked the rear but didn’t find any scratch or dent.
When he checked the left side of the SUV he found the rear left door open. He then realised that the briefcase was missing. Ram immediately looked around but could not find anyone uncanny. He then called up Singh, who after reaching the spot, called up the police,” an officer at the Kotwali police station said.
The police said investigations have been initiated into the case. “We found it strange that he was going to Delhi all alone for a bypass surgery. He said that after reaching Patna in the morning, he did not put up at any hotel He intended to spend the entire day at the temple and board the train at 7.25pm. We have closed-circuit television cameras in the Station roundabout and we would go through the footage.
“It seems someone was aware that the bag contained such a huge amount of cash,” deputy superintendent of police (law and order) Mamta Kalyani said.
Similar instances of daylight robbery have rocked the capital earlier too. On February 26, some criminals lifted a briefcase containing cash and jewellery worth Rs 10 lakh from the car of one Vijay Singh, a jeweller, at Mauryalok Complex in Kotwali police station area. Like in Tuesday’s episode, the owner of the car was not there in the vehicle.
The briefcase, lying in the backseat of the car, was lifted despite the driver sitting in the vehicle. A day before the incident, criminals had smashed the window screen of a car parked on Exhibition Road in daylight and taken away some documents. The police are yet to crack the two cases.