Robbers loot cash van barely 30 metres from police chowkie

Around 10 am yesterday, Swapnil Kadam and Rajesh Launde were customarily transferring cash into a security van from their office. Out of the blue, a white Mahindra Scorpio arrived at the spot and screeched to a halt.

So close yet so far: The police chowkie is about 30 metres away from the office of Radiant Cash Management Services Pvt Ltd (below), located in Kharghar’s sector 7. Pics/Suresh KK

Two men got out and, before Kadam and Launde could react, the offenders overpowered the duo with a hockey stick and some chilli powder. They then filched Rs 10 lakh from the van and took flight. Interestingly, the office of Radiant Cash Management Services Pvt Ltd, located in Kharghar’s sector 7 is a stone’s throw from the nearest police chowkie.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Deepak Ingale, a security guard at one of the bank branches nearby, said, “This is their (Kadam and Launde’s) daily routine. Almost every day around the same time, they load money into the van to transport it. Yesterday morning I heard a racket and people talking about contacting the police. As I was stepping out to see what had happened, a white Mahindra Scorpio drove off at breakneck speed. That is when I realised that a robbery had taken place.”

Witnesses claim that one of the crooks attacked Kadam with a hockey stick, and when Launde tried to stop him the offenders threw chilli powder in his eyes. Disoriented and battered, Kadam and Launde were unable to fend off the attackers who escaped with the loot in less than a minute.

Yogendra Mishra, a private security guard posted at the adjacent Saraswat Bank, said, “As soon as we heard people trying to alert the police regarding a robbery, the other guard and I immediately pulled down the shutters to prevent the miscreants from entering here.”

Cops from Kharghar police station reached the scene within minutes of being alerted. “It is possible that those who performed the robbery were observing the van for some time. The whole heist was executed within a minute or two. We are currently trying to locate the Scorpio,” a police official who did not wish to be named said.

Cops have also recovered footage from a closed-circuit television camera (CCTV) in the vicinity. The video shows seven men arriving in the SUV. However, police claim that the footage is not explicit enough for them to make out any faces. The number plate on the vehicle was obviously a bogus one, as when police traced it through the RTO, they came to know it belonged to a two-wheeler.

Probe in progress
Cops took Kadam, Launde and Madhukar Palande -- the driver of the targeted security van -- for questioning to Kharghar police station. Officials claim that Rs 10 lakh was looted in the incident.

When contacted, the management of Radiant Cash Management Services refused to comment on the issue.

Rs 10 lakh
The amount of money the offenders stole from the cash van

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