Fortnight after Ludhiana robbery, Punjab police conduct checking of ATMs, petrol pumps

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About a fortnight after the ATM cash company Cash Management Services (CMS) in Ludhiana was robbed of Rs 8.49 crore in the wee hours in the biggest heist ever, Punjab Police on Friday thoroughly checked ATMs and Petrol Pumps across the State from security point of view, especially, to ensure that the Closed-Circuit Television (CCTVs) cameras are functioning and security guards were deployed.

The checking was conducted from 10 am to 2 pm simultaneously in all the 28 Police districts of the State on the directions of the state Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav.

The Commissioners of Police and Senior Superintendents of Police were directed to personally monitor this operation and make sufficient number of Police teams to carry out the checking.

Special DGP Arpit Shukla informed that the checking was conducted keeping in mind the vulnerability of petrol pumps and ATMs, which are prone and could be soft-target of anti-social elements.

He said that one team per police station was deployed to conduct inspection and review security arrangements at all such establishments. Police teams were also asked to ensure that all the ATMs and Petrol Pumps have CCTV cameras installed at the premises and are guarded by the watchman or security guard, he added.

At least 471 Police teams, involving over 3000 Police personnel, carried out checks at as many as 2758 ATMs and 1861 Petrol Pumps across the state.

Meanwhile, Commissioners of Police and Senior Superintendents of Police have also been directed to intensify police patrolling around such vulnerable places to keep vigil on anti-social elements.

Earlier, similar checking were also carried out by the Punjab police across the state at bus stands, religious institutes including temples, Gurdwaras, Churches, and mosques, among other places.

The state-wide checking came a fortnight after 10 robbers made off with Rs 8.49-crore from CMS- a cash management company’s office in Ludhiana’s New Rajguru Nagar. The police has claimed to have cracked the case with the arrest of six accused, including an employee of the firm.

The robbery plan was spearheaded by Mandeep Kaur of Barnala and Manjinder Singh, alias Mani, 27, of Abuwal village, who has been driving their cash van for the past four years. While Manjinder has been arrested, Mandeep remains on the run. Police had issued a look-out circular (LOC) for Mandeep Kaur, suspecting that she may flee the country to evade arrest.

Police commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu said the accused started planning the heist four months ago. On the day of robbery, they did not use mobile phones to avoid being traced.

The robbers had struck at the company’s office around 2 am on Saturday. After throwing chilli powder in the eyes of five employees, the robbers had held them captive in a server room, before decamping with Rs 8.49 crore in cash. The robbers had also taken away a cash van that was later found abandoned in Pandori village near Dakha. Three weapons were also recovered from the van.

Following the incident, Ludhiana Commissioner of Police Mandeep Singh Sidhu had written to the Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and the state DGP to ban operations of the company in the state over poor security arrangements in their offices.

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