Dharavi duo flees with 1.6 crore from cash van


MUMBAI: Around Rs 1.56 crore was stolen on Thursday afternoon from a cash van waiting to refill a State Bank of India ATM in Dharavi.

While the guard and an ATM handler were refilling the ATM, two men took out a cash chest from the rear of the unlocked van, calmly walked away and fled in a taxi.They were gone before anyone realised what was happening; the van driver and his associate were chatting in the front seat.

The incident took place at around 3pm, near the T-Junction in Dharavi. The cops said they have got CCTV footage of the persons walking away and have begun a probe. A source said after the guard and cash handler took out a cash chest from the rear of the van, they shut the door and pulled the latch, but did not lock it for some reason. Police probing the Rs 1.56 crore robbery from a cash van refilling an SBI ATM at Dharavi on Thursday, said contrary to normal procedure the van was not parked in front of the ATM but on the other side of the road. More surprisingly, the van’s rear door was left unlocked and unguarded when two of the personnel accompanying the vehicle went to refill the ATM. Two men made away with a cash trunk from the van’s rear door even as the ATM was being refilled.

Deputy police commissio ner Pravinkumar Padwal said they had obtained CCTV footage of the area. “The pictures are not very clear but two persons can be seen walking with the cash trunk and sitting in a taxi,” said Padwal. Police later cordoned off the area opposite ONGC, on Sant Rohidas Marg, where the cash van was parked.

The employees of the firm who were accompanying the van were identified as Prateik Jadhav , Gyaneshwar Patil, security guard Prajapati Girja and the driver identified only as Chaudhry . They are being questioned. “We are probing all angles,” said R D Shinde, additional commissioner of police.

“At least one person should have guarded the rear door of the van. They even did not bother to lock it. We are recording statements of all four employees,” added an officer. He said a cash van should be parked right outside the ATM and the guard accompanying it should monitor the van at all times.

A police source said, “The van left Goregaon and collected cash from a centre in BKC. It then went to Dharavi. While the guard and another person took out a chest of cash from the rear door of the van, they pulled the latch but did not lock it. They went ahead to refill the ATM,” said the source. The two people in the front seats did not get down to guard the rear door.

Around 3.05 pm, a passerby informed Girja, who was outside the ATM, that two men had taken away a box from the van. He informed the ATM handler and both ran back to find the rear door open and a cash trunk missing. They informed their office and called the police.

Their call records are being examined as police are not ruling out an insider hand.