Rs. 5.70 CRORE STOLEN FROM LUDHIANA BANK
LUDHIANA, India: Fifteen armed persons in a major raid over a Ludhiana bank looted about Rs. 5.70 crores from the main branch of Punjab National Bank on the G.T. Roadin the morning and eight freedom fighters freed their colleague from the police custody while he was being brought to the old district courts in the afternoon.
While one policeman Malkiat Singh was killed, another, Gurcharan Singh was seriously injured in the firing by the unknown men in the court. Two men chased by the security were allegedly killed by police in the encounter near a village fifteen miles from here. It was later revealed that these two Youngman belonged to Punjab State Electricity Board and were mending wire ina field. The three men including the rescued the person, Bhai Anokh Singh, was still hiding and the police had launched a manhunt for them in the village and fields.
In the biggest ever dacoity in the country a group of 20 well armed men, six of them wearing police uniforms, came to Punjab National Bank Branch near Manjju Cinema. All of them were wearing pistols and one of them was in a Inspector’s Uniform, one in Head Constable’s and others in constables’ uniform. They over powered the police guard outside the bank while pretending to have come to check the in security arrangements. Once inside, the men who were armed with automatic weapons, pistols and revolvers overpowered the police guards and locked the bank staff in the underground chambers of the bank. In a meticulously executed operation lasting about one hour 45 minutes the gunmen operated coolly without letting anybody feel suspicious. Two men kept watch from the window inside the two story building while one of them in uniform took position at the entrance of the bank while his colleagues inside and the rest were outside. Both the employees and the customers told that inspection of the guard was in progress. The manager and the others were taken to the lower level from the first floor at gunpoint and made to sit. They demanded the keys from the employees and threatened to shoot if they moved.
Also the staff members numbering about 175 were huddled in one room. The gunmen in the front gate also treated the customers very courteously without arousing any suspicion. They told the Chief Manager Malhotra that they were from C.B.I. to investigate the raid and got the keys from him on gun point.
The gunmen filled the money in five gunny bags that they had brought with them and covered them with bed covers they got from the ground floor. New notes amounting to 5.55 crores were not touched. They took money from the reserve bank and 18.21 lakhs from the P.N.B. strong room. Employees were told to load the truck parked in the premises at gun point. Before escaping at 10:45 the gunmen took all the staff and customers downstairs.
According to staff members they were very polite in their behavior and made it clear that they were in need of money for the creation of Khalistan. The police reached the bank at 11:30 a.m. about 15 minutes after the operation. The dacoits are believed to have used a car and a scooter beside the truck. Police sealed all the routes (142)
There were Rs. 11 crores in the bank at the time of the dacoity.
Article extracted from this publication >> February 20, 1987