: The police have released computer-aided portraits of three of the four bank robbers who fled with more than Rs. 18 lakh from the Bank of Baroda branch in Perungudi on Monday after holding bank staff and customers at gunpoint. The portrait of the fourth accused was not generated as the victims could not provide proper description, police said.

The investigation that followed the armed robbery has been a real challenge for the special police teams which have questioned more than 300 persons including customers, staff, construction contractors and workers in and around Perungudi.

Police teams also carried out meetings with real estate brokers in the area and distributed the sketches of the suspects. The computer-generated portraits would be prominently displayed in places where the public gather in large numbers in the city and other districts.

The three portraits were drawn based on the accounts of those held hostage by the robbers. However, the victims failed to give a suitable description about the fourth accused, who is said to have threatened and made them face the wall before bundling them into the safe room, police sources said. “Neither the customers nor the bank staff were able to see the man's face properly, leading to difficulty in generating his portrait'', said an investigating officer.

As fingerprints lifted from the scene are of little use, the investigating teams are relying on the portraits and some cellphones that the culprits took away from the customers for a breakthrough.

“A few construction workers from an IT park in Perungudi said that the portraits showed some resemblance to some of their co-workers who had not reported to work after Pongal holidays. But the men were known to be in Orissa and will be reporting to work on Friday,” the officer added.

According to Rangaramanujan, a lawyer, to whose head one of the robbers pointed a handgun inside the bank; all the four suspects were slim and shabbily dressed youths. “They spoke Hindi among themselves while one conversed to us in broken Tamil. I think they are natives of UP, Bihar or Jharkhand,” he added.

The police helpline 98842 03821 to which people can provide information on the armed robbers has received eight phone calls till Thursday evening. Callers have expressed suspicion over some North Indian youths in their respective localities. Police teams are being sent to question them, sources added.

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Petlee PeterJune 28, 2012