Karachi: Security guard, bandits rob bank of Rs9m
KARACHI: A guard of a private security company posting at a bank branch in Jodia Bazaar with the help of his five armed accomplices held the staff hostage, tied them up and ran away with more than Rs9 million in the city`s biggest heist this year on Thursday, police said.
The armed bandits took more than two hours to complete their operation and surprisingly received no resistance in one of the city`s most congested commercial neighbourhoods that houses the country`s biggest wholesale market of grocery and confectionery items.
The police said the armed guard, associated with a private security company, planned the robbery in a way that the bank staff could not realise the situation and offer any resistance.
Investigators said the key suspect, Anwar Khan, who was employed by the private security company some three months ago, turned up for duty at the MCB Jodia Bazaar branch at around 6am.
“As a matter of routine, he replaced the guard on the night shift at the branch,” said Kharadar SHO Inspector Ghulam Nabi Afridi. “Within an hour, he was joined by five armed men one by one inside the branch. Together they waited for the bank staff to come.”
The inspector said that the staff started arriving at around 8:30am and by 9:15am the entire 22-member bank staff was inside the facility and had been taken hostage by the armed men.
“The bandits tied up the staff and also thrashed a few of them. They took the key of the safe and collected more than Rs9 million before speeding away on two motorbikes of the staff members. The armed men also took away four cellphones of staff members,” the inspector said.
The fresh incident comes as a fifth such strike by robbers in the city this year alone, though the investigators claimed they had solved three previous cases after tracking down and arresting the suspects.
However, they said, they had found some important clues and surprising facts while probing the Jodia Bazaar bank robbery. “Apart from the security guard, one of the robbery suspects has been identified as the younger brother of a police constable posted at the Gizri police station,” said SP Raja Umer Khattab of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU), tasked with the probe of bank heists.
“We have acquired the CCTV footage and examined the scenes in and outside the branch. Going through such facts, we suspect that the members of the gang were also involved in the DHA bank robbery a few months ago. The suspects, including Anwar Khan, mainly hailed from Chakwal.”
He said the personal data of the private security guard acquired from his company had been verified, which showed that he did not use any fake documents for employment.
“Under the defined rules of the private security companies, they seek guarantees from respectable individuals while hiring any unknown candidate. The same procedure was followed for the appointment of Anwar Khan and we will also question those individuals just to trace his whereabouts,” said SP Khattab.
Karachi witnessed some 22 bank robberies last year, while the police authorities claimed to have solved 16 such cases arresting more than a dozen suspects. Police have found involvement of a few banned militant outfits, apparently to generate funds for their activities, and other armed groups in bank robberies.
Meanwhile, a case (FIR 168/2011) was registered on a complaint of the branch manager at the Kharadar police station under Sections 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code against the security guard and his accomplices.