‘Alleged gang members have earlier been involved in many cases’

Investigations have revealed that the Defence Colony cash van heist was meticulously planned by the robbers.

“It appears that the gang had planned the robbery well in advance as key members had shifted base recently to evade detection. The suspected mastermind, Hari Kishan, had recently bought a house at Hauz Rani in South Delhi apparently as part of the plan to target the cash van,” said a police officer. The suspicion gains credence from the fact that after committing the daylight robbery, the criminals abandoned the vehicle in Khirki Gaon close to Hauz Rani. They then allegedly went to the same house, broke open the cash boxes to share the loot among themselves and dumped the boxes in the same locality before parting ways.

The police also suspect that the gang members conducted reconnaissance to identify the routes taken by the cash van every day. They also arranged a car stolen by another gang from Faridabad on July 5 to evade detection.

On Friday, the robbers trailed the cash van in the same vehicle before they intercepted it in the D Block service lane of Defence Colony. “A case of car theft was registered at a Faridabad police station on July 8,” said the officer. It is suspected that the accused had also tried to tamper with the engine and chassis numbers of the vehicle.

“However, an exemplary team work helped us crack the case so soon. It is indeed an achievement to solve the case through ‘crime-to-criminal’ investigations,” said another officer.Police sources said the same gang was involved in a daylight robbery on Vikas Marg on July 8, 2008, when the gang members pumped nine bullets into a 54-year-old mobile phone showroom accountant named Mahesh Kapoor and robbed him of a bag containing Rs.1.34 lakh in cash.

The accountant had withdrawn the money from the Preet Vihar branch of a bank. Hari Kishan was later arrested in that case along with some other gang members, including Yogesh who is suspected to be involved in the Defence Colony heist. The accused had targeted the accountant to arrange money for their court cases.

The alleged gang members have earlier been involved in cases of murder, dacoity, robbery and other offences in Delhi and neighbouring States. “Hari Krishan’s younger brother Deepak, who has now been arrested, was also previously involved in some cases,” said the officer.

Stating that some leads were being developed to ascertain if any insider was also involved in the robbery, Joint Commissioner of Police Vivek Gogia on Sunday said the cash replenishment agency for which the money was being transported had started the work of replenishing ATM machines July 20 onwards.

“The company is registered. We are yet to initiate investigations to find out whether there was any lapse on the company’s part in taking precautions as per rules,” he said.

Although the police have seized a 9 mm pistol purportedly at Deepak’s instance, they are not yet sure if the same weapon was used to gun down security guard Munne Singh

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