Nashik: In what police termed as the biggest heist of its kind in the state, a staggering 58 kg of gold worth around Rs.17 crore was looted at gunpoint from a security vehicle on the Nashik-Dhule highway early on Friday morning.
The highway robbery took place around 2.30 a.m. when a van laden with 60 kg of gold belonging to Zee Gold Company was being transported in a high-security van from Mumbai to a gold processing plant in Shirpur in Dhule district on the Madhya Pradesh border.
"The van had left the Andheri office of Zee Group around 11.15 p.m. on Thursday night and was proceeding towards Nashik. Around 2.30 a.m., at an isolated spot, the van was waylaid by a Mahindra Logan sedan with a yellow beacon light," assistant police inspector Suhas M. Raut, who is part of the investigating team, told IANS.
Thinking them to be a police team, the security van stopped. It was then that at least three-four people from the car pointed guns at the driver and security personnel of the van carrying the gold and threatened them.
"The culprits quickly tied up the van personnel, who did not even have an opportunity to use their weapons... later, during investigations, we found that the security personnel had kept their weapons in the locked position," Raut said.
The culprits managed to unload 58 kg from the security van into their vehicle, leaving behind two kg, before fleeing from the scene. Top officials, including District Superintendent of Police Sanjay Mohite and others, rushed to the scene to supervise the investigation.
Police have formed four teams which have been sent out in different directions, including one which arrived in Mumbai on Friday afternoon. The investigators hope to gain some leads from the footage taken from the video cameras installed inside the van, and road blocks have been set up at all the exit points to neighbouring districts, and bordering states of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to trace the robbers