In a sensational broad daylight heist, armed men in a car waylaid a cash van in the capital’s upmarket Defence Colony area on Friday and drove away with Rs. 5.25 crore after shooting and injuring a security guard, who succumbed to injuries late at night. The van was later found abandoned in Malviya Nagar.

The van belonged to a private cash replenishment agency and was on its way to deliver the amount to its office in C-Block of Lajpat Nagar. While it was passing through a service lane along the Defence Colony flyover around 1 p.m., a white Hyundai Verna car intercepted it near a Nature’s Basket outlet.

Wielding firearms, half-a-dozen men burst out of the vehicle and ambushed the van. Two security guards, Munne Singh and Ajab Singh, along with cashier Ashok and driver Anil were in the vehicle. The robbers trained their weapons at the occupants and asked them to get off the van. When Munne Singh offered resistance, one of them shot him in the chest. Before the other guard could retaliate, the robbers pushed the occupants out, forced their way into the vehicle and drove away. They left their car behind.

The security company’s employees immediately called up their supervisor and the police. A profusely bleeding Munne was rushed to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences Trauma Centre, where he was operated upon.

Soon an alert was sounded and barricades were erected on all major roads and at the borders. Senior police officers rushed to the spot along with Crime Branch sleuths. A forensic team collected evidence, including fingerprints from the vehicle.

A couple of hours later, the van was found abandoned at Khirki Gaon. The cash, however, was missing.

Preliminary investigations suggested that the vehicle bore a fake Haryana registration number plate and its chassis and engine numbers had been tampered with. The police are trying to identify the real owner. “These facts suggest that it was a well planned robbery. The robbers apparently carried out a reconnaissance before they struck,” said a police officer.

The van occupants told the police that they had collected the cash from the Hauz Khas branch of a bank. The police have sought assistance from the security company to prepare a list of its present and former employees.