VIJAYAWADA: In the last Tuesday gold heist, which is believed to be the biggest in terms of value in the city, the goldsmiths have lost all the money they saved for the past 12 years. Now, they have become insomniac with the intimidation they witnessed.
All the goldsmiths were busy at work like any other normal day at the workshop in Mahankali Market in Governorpet on June 11. All of a sudden, one of the workers shrieked on seeing some miscreants armed with guns and lethal weapons entered the premises one after one. Even before they realised, the miscreants fanned out to the four corners of the workshop. Usually, the main gate of the workshop is locked after 10 pm. The dacoits who broke into the workshop at around 9:45 pm, finished their loot within 15 minutes.
When faced some resistance from a goldsmith, one of the dacoits aimed his gun at him. The victim escaped death by touching the dacoit’s feet for mercy. After the loot, all the goldsmiths were made to kneel down with their hands up. The dacoits did not speak much except some abusive words in north Indian Hindi. Though nobody peeped into the workshop at that time, one of the victims shouted that ‘a neighbouring woman saw your dacoity. Take whatever you want’. The baffled dacoits hastily decamped with the booty.“It was that spontaneous shout saved us. Otherwise, the dacoits would have killed us before leaving the place like any other customer,” said a goldsmith.
Only two beat constables initially reached the scene of offence after around 15 minutes. Later, other police officials visited the workshop. Notwithstanding their claim of quick response, the city police took a little more time to reach the scene of offence, a goldsmith said.
Manna Subhash, a goldsmith, said: “Even now we are living in fear. We are left with nothing for our living. Gold business runs mainly on trust. It is quite difficult for us to get work after the robbery. If the looted gold was not recovered at the earliest by nabbing the dacoits, our pathetic condition could not be explained in words.”
Gang visited Gannavaram before dacoity?
According to a credible source, the dacoit gang first went to Gannavaram after reaching the city. It is learnt that the gang struck at the gold workshop in Mahankali Market after meeting someone at Gannavaram. The CCTV cameras at Pottipadu Toll Plaza recorded their movement. The police are said to be probing the case from the angle that someone in Gannavaram might have guided the dacoit gang in committing the heist. The dacoits fully covered their faces while committing the heist to avoid being recognised in the CCTV camera footage.