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Goons shoot & scoot with cash
Police suspect role of insiders in heist

The bullet hole in the car’s windscreen. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, June 5: Goons looted Rs 11 lakh in cash from the cashier of a private hospital after firing at his car on a busy road this morning.

This is the second incident of this kind in Bhubaneswar in four months.

Eyewitnesses said that two goons on a white scooter intercepted the car of cashier, Heeralal Das, 49, near Jayadev Vatika on the Khandagiri-Ghatikia road, a few hundred metres from the Khandagiri police station around 11.45am.

Das, who sat in the front seat of the car beside the driver, was on his way to a nationalised bank in Khandagiri to deposit the cash.

When the vehicle slowed down at a speed breaker, the accused, who were close to the car, fired with the bullet piercing the windshield and lodging in the dashboard.

“The shooting forced us to stop the car. Then the attackers broke the windows on my side, brandished their guns and demanded the bag of cash. Once they got hold of it, they sped away towards Baramunda. They also took away the car keys,” Das said.

However, both Das and Somnath Behera, the driver, are safe.

Eyewitnesses said the goons fled before anyone had the time to react. “I heard a sound and rushed to the spot. All I saw was two men speeding away on a scooter with a bag,” said Sumati Sahu, who owns a shop in the area. No one has been able to identify the accused so far.

The police have recovered a magazine with three bullets from the spot.

“Preliminary investigations have revealed that both the accused were in their mid-20s. Though they were not wearing helmets, no one could identify them,” said a police officer.

The police suspect the involvement of insiders in the heist. “The cashier used to deposit money in the bank on a daily basis. The driver had been appointed only two weeks ago. Some insider might have passed information about the money being carried to the bank,” the police officer said.

Deputy commissioner of police Nitinjeet Singh said that a case of robbery had been registered and investigation was on.

The police are also trying to ascertain the reason behind cashier not taking a security guard with him despite having been advised by the police to do so. Banks and other institutions engaged in heavy financial transactions have also been asked to inform the local police station while transporting cash in huge amounts.

On February 3, three goons on a motorcycle snatched cash worth Rs 17 lakh from the accountant of a private hospital in Chandrasekharpur at gunpoint while he was on his way to deposit the money in a bank. The criminals fled after firing two shots in the air.

Nayagarh robbery

Three armed robbers today looted Rs 12 lakh in cash from a nationalised bank in Nandighara of Nayagarh district, 90km from here. Branch manager Padma Charan Sathua was injured when the robbers attacked him with sharp weapons.

Eyewitnesses said three unidentified goons armed with sharp weapons had entered the bank around 1.50pm and first tore apart the cables of closed circuit television cameras installed in the bank. While two of the goons had worn helmets, the other had not covered his face.

Later, one of them barged into the branch manager’s office and attacked him. The police said around 12 persons, including six customers, were present inside the bank during the incident.

The police said the bank was unguarded. “They took Rs 3 lakh from the cash counter and another Rs 9 lakh from the strong room. We rushed to the spot and have asked all police stations of the district to set up road blockades to nab them,” said Nayagarh superintendent of police Bhagyadhar Behera.