CHANDIGARH: In a unique heist, that mirrors British crime film The Bank Job, robbers dug a 125-feet tunnel to reach the strong room of a bank and looted cash and jewellery worth crores in Sonepat district of Haryana. The 2.5-feet wide tunnel, originating from an unoccupied building across the road, led the looters straight to the Gohana branch of Punjab National Bank, where they emptied 90 of the 350 lockers, making away with cash, jewellery and other valuables. According to initial estimates, around Rs 40 lakh cash was missing.
The robbery is believed to have been executed between Saturday evening and Monday morning. The theft was first noticed by manager Devinder Malik, who opened the bank after the weekend break. According to sources, around two rooms in the unoccupied building across the bank were filled with earth from the tunnel. The robbers had been careful enough to black out the windows. The tools dumped by the thieves in the building indicate that they knew the exact location of the strong room and lockers in the bank.
A special investigation team has been set up to probe the robbery. Talking to Express, Rohtak Range Inspector General of Police Anil Kumar said, “We have announced a reward of Rs 10 lakh to anyone who can provide information on the burglars. We have also sent teams for investigation in Rajasthan, Delhi and UP. They are conducting raids. Teams have also been despatched within Haryana.” “Sketches of the robbers could not be made as there were no CCTV cameras in the strong room but we working on some clues,” he added. The police were studying footage of cameras in other areas of the bank.
“The job of the thieves was made easy as the floor of the locker room was an ordinary cement floor commonly seen in houses. It was easily broken by the robbers. As per the norms, it should have been built of thick RCC and steel plates and other reinforcements should have been used,” said Sonepat SP Arun Nehra.
Bank manager Malik, however, denied any lapses on the bank’s part. “We followed the RBI guidelines. The floor was eight inches in depth and the walls were solid concrete. It appears the robbery was carried out after meticulous planning as the robbers had recced the area. They seemed to have been watching the area for several days,” Malik said.
Read other crime stories: