Nowshera: ‘Militants’ in Rs123m heist
NOWSHERA: Suspected militants escaped with Rs123 million in what is said to be one of the biggest highway robberies in the country. The robbers who attacked a bullet-proof vehicle of a currency exchange company on the Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway section on Tuesday night also killed three people and wounded two others.
NWFP Principal Police Officer Malik Naveed Khan blamed a criminal gang for the robbery. Police said the Land Cruiser used in the crime was found in Gambat locality on Wednesday.
The registration number of the vehicle turned out to be fake and the militants had sprinkled some spice powder around the vehicle to distract sniffer dogs. “This (robbery) was done in a very professional manner. They were wearing long hair and beards and have left behind notes inscribed with Kalima to give an impression that militants were involved, but I think this was the work of professional criminals,” Mr Naveed Khan claimed.
He said he had formed three committees to investigate the robbery from different angles and resolve the case on high priority. However, a security official said that militant cells were operating in Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera and their involvement could not be ruled out.
Police said that the militants riding the 4×4 jeep fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the bullet-proof vehicle of a company – Ms Pakistan Currency Exchange Company – on the motorway at about 8pm on Tuesday.
Muhammad Shakeel, general secretary of the Currency Sarafa Association, Peshawar, told Dawn that over Rs150 million owned by three private money exchange companies was being shifted from Peshawar to Rawalpindi.
“Robbers first opened fire on the vehicle with automatic assault rifles but when they failed to stop the bullet-proof vehicle, they blew it up with a rocket propelled grenade. Three guards inside the vehicle were killed on the spot while two others suffered serious injuries,” he said.
“Where was the motorway police at the time of the crime. The guards were exchanging fire with robbers for 20 minutes, but police failed to reach there and help them,” he said, adding that robbers intercepted and attacked the vehicle near Mirati Banda bridge.
Sources said the robbers took away Rs123 million from the vehicle while two bags containing Rs10.4 million were found in the damaged vehicle. The three guards killed in the militants’ attack have been identified as Abdul Qudoos, Gul Shah Din and Zafar Iqbal.
The two injured men were taken to the Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar. On an appeal of the money exchange association, the main money exchange market in Peshawar’s Chowk Yadgar was closed on Wednesday to protest against the incident.
The complete article can be found at Dawn News.