KOLKATA: Armed robbers, posing as customers, struck at the Manappuram Finance‘s gold loan branch at Dunlop on Friday morning, held the manager at gunpoint and decamped with 30kg gold, worth Rs 8.6 crore. One of the goons also hit the security guard on the head with his pistol butt as the man tried to stop them as they fled with the loot.
This was the second heist in five days at a Manappuram Finance’s gold loan branch, the first one being reported on Monday at Ulhasnagar in Thane where burglars made away with over 32kg gold jewellery worth more than Rs 9 crore.
After the Dunlop burglary, two of the employees at the branch were detained for interrogation and the CID paid a visit during the day, hinting at the possibility that the agency might take up the probe. Barrackpore Commissionerate officers have not ruled out the likelihood of the involvement of some employees.
The incident took place around 10.15am when the four men reportedly arrived on two motorcycles, wearing helmets. “One of them went up to the manager and said he wanted to keep 3kg gold ornaments in the vault. Complementary padlocks are used to open our vaults and the keys have to match. The manager asked the ‘customer’ to wait as the employee with the key had not yet arrived. When the vault was subsequently opened, the accused pointed a gun to the manager’s head. The other three men, waiting outside, came in, brandishing weapons. Two of the gang took out all the gold in the vault,” said Subir Chakraborty, an employee. Guard Krishna Singh tried to intervene but one of the accused hit him on the head, even as the gang fled with the loot stashed in two bags.
As news spread, several customers demanded their gold be returned, but officials assured them their valuables were safe. By then, a Baranagar police team reached the spot. “Some circumstantial evidence didn’t match the employees’ statements. Some of them are being questioned,” said Dhrubajyoti Dey, DCP, Zone II, Barrackpore Commissionerate.
In a communication to the media, the finance company promised to protect the interests of customers. “Security of their gold jewellery is our first priority. We confirm the gold jewellery kept in the branch is fully insured and affected customers will not lose anything. We have shared CCTV footage with the police. We are confident the police will be successful in nabbing the culprits…” an official said.