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Gone in 6 minutes: Rs 7.7cr in Delhi

- Gang snatches cash after rush-hour car chase; cloud on source of money
The car in which the employees were travelling. (PTI)

New Delhi, Jan. 28: An armed gang of six snatched Rs 7.7 crore from five employees of a private firm after stopping their car on a rush-hour Delhi street this morning in what police described as the capital’s biggest such robbery so far.

Delhi police haven’t yet said where and how the script for the daring raid was written but the plot is the stuff of many a Bollywood potboiler.

It featured a chase among three cars, and according to a senior officer, a final interception, snatching and getaway that took all of six minutes.

Passers-by at Moolchand flyover, a south Delhi landmark where the incidents unfolded around 9.15am when the streets are brimming with office-goers, either could not understand what happened or mistook the commotion for a traffic altercation, the officer said.

“The operation was carried out in six minutes. This is the biggest robbery in Delhi in terms of the cash involved so far,” the officer said. Two of the three getaway cars were found in separate spots a few kilometres from the crime scene nearly five hours later.

Police said the six robbers were between 20 to 26 years old and accosted the victims in two stolen cars — a WagonR and Hyundai Verna. They had chased the victims’ Honda City from Kalkaji, around 10km away.

Questions have been raised about the volume of money. Preliminary probe suggested the private firm employees were involved in hawala transactions. “We are questioning the five occupants to find out how they got such a huge sum of money,” the officer said.

However, the victims have told the police that they had collected the money from clients and were on way to deposit it in banks in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh, over 15km away.

The officer said a Gurgaon investor, Rahul Ahuja, sent the five— his manager Rakesh Kumar Kalra, driver Subodh and three associates — to various places to collect cash and deposit it in banks.

In his complaint, manager Kumar said that they had taken the cash from Kalkaji and Greater Kailash, less than 10km from the robbery scene. They had collected Rs 3 crore from one client and Rs 4.7 crore from the other, according to Kumar’s complaint.

The employees put the cash in two bags and left in the Honda City. After travelling 100 metres from the Moolchand flyover, the WagonR overtook them and stopped in front, causing a minor collision. In that time, the Hyundai Verna car pulled in and stopped behind.

“At least four men came out of the Verna car and pointed pistols at the five employees. Then some of the robbers fled with the cash in the (the victims’) Honda City while the others disappeared in the Verna,” said deputy commissioner (southeast) P. Karunakaran.

A hunt is on for the six culprits. “Four teams have been formed to nab the accused,” another officer said.

The police said the Verna was found abandoned on the Defence Colony flyover near Jangpura, a few kilometres away, around two in the afternoon. The Honda City was found parked near Sewa Nagar Railway Crossing, barely 1km from the crime spot.

A similar incident had taken place in 2012 when robbers looted Rs 5.25 crore from a van carrying cash for ATMs in broad daylight from an upscale south Delhi locality and fled after shooting a guard.