Nagpur: Despite the CCTVs capturing the faces of robbers at Manappuram Gold Loan Branch in Jaripatka the long hand of law has not reached them as yet. Six “masked” men on Wednesday afternoon had stormed the finance company office and looted over 30 kg of gold worth Rs 9 crore at gun-point. Teams of cops have been formed and dispatched to different places outside the city.
Considering the seriousness of the crime, the DCP Abhinash Kumar made Jaripatka Police Station his “home” and was sitting there since 8 am and guiding the investigation into the daring heist. Cops were scanning the footage of CCTVs and trying to establish the identity of the robbers.
Customers as well as police were at a loss to imagine that despite ‘deposit’ of gold in crores no security measures worth the name were in place at Manappuram. Speculations are running wild over the robbery.
According to details, the six “masked” men entered the Manappuram Gold Loan Branch around 3.30 pm on Wednesday and first took the woman peon Sandhya Shende hostage. Later, the assailants carrying firearms held nine persons, including staff of Manappuram and customers, as hostage for about 20 minutes at the firm’s Bheem Chowk branch, near Jaripatka Police Station. The absence of security guards only made the heist easy for them.
The woman employee Sandhya Shende is learnt to have opened the channelled gate for one of the accused, who posed as a depositor to gain entry. The man covered his face once he went inside the firm.
When asked to uncover his face, he whisked out a firearm taking the employees and customers hostage. He also snatched their mobile phones, police said. The assailants damaged the CCTV cameras and wiring, but one of the modules skipped their notice which the police is now banking on to establish the identity of the dacoits. The accused did not injure anyone, but firmly told them to quietly remain seated on floor as three of them had guns, they said.
Police are examining the CCTV footage from nearby shops and other premises to gauge their movement in the locality, and have not ruled out the possibility of involvement of an inter-state gang. The robbers forced all staffers and customers into the strongroom. The heist went on for at least 20 minutes, according to Deputy Commissioner of Police Abhinash Kumar. “The CCTV footage shows five men carrying out the act but we do not know if there were more. We are looking out for them,” he said.
The management of Manappuram Finance Ltd said the interest of their customers and security of their gold jewellery was their first priority. “We confirm that the gold stolen from the branch is fully insured and our customers will not be put to any loss on this account.”