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Goons strike, loot Rs 77 lakh

- Two incidents raise security issues

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 3: In true Bollywood style, armed goons fired on a cash van of a bank, injured its two guards and fled with Rs 60 lakh near Biribadi under Tangi police limits in Khurda, 75km from here this afternoon.

In a fashion similar to the Biribadi incident and around the same time, three motorcycle-borne goons snatched Rs 17 lakh from the accountant of a private hospital at Damana Square in Bhubaneswar.

However, no one was injured in the incident at Damana Square as the goons looted the money by firing in the air.

Sources in Biribadi said that the goons had targeted the cash van of the State Bank of India when it was transporting cash from its Khurda branch to the Balugaon branch in two iron trunks.

The goons chased down the bank’s vehicle on National Highway-5 for about 3km before looting it.

Though the two guards were injured, a bank employee travelling in it escaped unhurt.

“The goons opened fire at the vehicle carrying cash. When it stopped, they shot at the two security guards. One was hit in the thigh and the other in the abdomen. Then they held the driver and the lone bank employee in the van at gunpoint and took out the two trunks packed with cash before fleeing,” said a police officer at Tangi police station.

The injured guards have been rushed to Bhubaneswar for treatment.

“We have begun investigation and sealed the all exit routes of the district,” said superintendent of police, Khurda, Dayanidhi Gochhayat.

In the incident at Damana Square, an accountant of a local private hospital identified as Jaydev Das was going in a vehicle to deposit cash worth Rs 17lakh in a nationalised bank. He was accompanied by two female employees of the hospital and an unarmed security guard.

“As soon as we got down from the vehicle, the goons rushed towards our vehicle and fired in the air. They snatched the bag containing cash from me and fled,” said Das. Eyewitnesses said that all of goons aged between 25 and 30 and did not wear masks.

“I heard the sound of bullets and then saw three persons speeding away on a motorcycle, which did not have a number plate. The man who was sitting at the back whipped out a pistol and fired in the air,” said Abhiram Sahu, an eyewitness.

The bank is located on the first floor of a four-storeyed building in Damana area, which is a bustling market.

Later, Das lodged a complaint with the Chandrasekharpur police station.

Police officials said the accountant used to deposit huge amounts of cash in the bank on a daily basis. The police are suspecting the role of insiders in the incident.

“Someone from the hospital might have tipped off the goons about cash being carried to the bank. We are also not ruling out the involvement of bank officials,” said a police official.

Deputy commissioner of polic, Nitinjeet Singh said that intensified checking at different points in the city was on to nab the goons.

“We have spoken to eyewitnesses and alerted the police in the neighbouring districts,” said Singh.