Petrol vend employees carrying cash attacked, one dead


New Delhi : In two separate daring robberies, employees of two petrol vends here carrying cash to be deposited in banks were fired upon Monday by motorcycle-borne robbers. While two alert senior staffers, who received bullet and stab injuries, foiled one of the heists, the assailants gunned down one man and fled with Rs.800,000 in the other incident.

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Baldev Singh, a caretaker at a petrol vend in northeast Delhi’s Bhajanpura area, was shot dead by the motorcycle-borne assailants around 10.15 a.m. barely 50 meters from a picket reportedly manned by two policemen.

Police said Singh was going on foot to deposit Rs.800,000 at a branch of the Syndicate Bank, inside the Yamuna Vihar bus depot. The bank branch is just across the road from the petrol vend.

Singh was accompanied by Rakesh, an employee at the vend, who, however, lay down on the road after being threatened by the robbers.

“Singh was in the middle of the road when one of the assailants shot him in the chest and snatched the bag from his hands,” a police officer said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Northeast Delhi) S.S. Yadav told IANS that one of the assailants was tracking Singh’s movements as he left the petrol vend for the bank.

He was passing on information about Singh’s movements to the other two assailants on the motorcycle. The trio, after firing at Singh and looting the cash, fled on the motorcycle, Yadav said.

“Singh generally used to carry his rifle whenever he went to deposit money but on Monday, he had left it at the petrol pump,” the police officer said.

“He was immediately rushed to the hospital where doctors declared him dead,” Yadav added.

According to the police, some passersby tried to catch the assailants and few even chased their motorcycle but the assailants fired in the air to scare them away.

Angry residents alleged that despite the presence of a picket just 50 meters away, the police failed to nab the culprits.

“We are surprised with the police action. They couldn’t catch the assailants even when they were within reach. Moreover, the road which they took to escape was just adjacent to the barricades placed by the police,” said Ramesh, a resident of the area.

In the other incident, two alert senior citizens and the staff of a petrol vend successfully foiled a daring robbery bid in the upscale South Extension area, even as they received bullet and stab injuries.

According to the police Baldev Singh, 73, manager of the Bharat Petroleum vend in South Extension-I, and cash manager S.K. Bajaj, 67, were on their way to a State Bank of India branch to deposit the vend’s earnings when they were attacked at around 11.30 a.m.

“I was carrying the briefcase and Bajaj was right behind me. When we reached near the bank, three men attacked (me) with a knife and asked me to hand over the bag. They started hurling punches and kicks at me,” Baldev Singh told reporters at a private hospital.

“I threw the briefcase to Bajaj, who took it and ran towards the bank. He threw the bag at a customer who was coming out of the bank. The customer, identified as Rajender Singh, handed over the briefcase to the bank’s security guard, who was inside the bank,” he said.

Police said the robbers then fired at Baldev Singh and attacked Bajaj with a knife before fleeing. Police rushed the bleeding victims to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, from where they were transferred to a private hospital.

Baldev Singh was was in a stable condition after a surgery.

Baldev Singh’s son Pawan said his father has been working at the petrol vend since 1970. The day’s earnings normally amount to Rs.500,000 lakh, but on Monday, the duo was also taking Sunday’s earnings to the bank.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) H.G.S. Dhaliwal said: “There are eight CCTV cameras inside the bank, but not even one outside. We have time and again instructed the banks in our district to install cameras outside the bank. There are no eyewitnesses in the case either. We are yet to ascertain whether there were three assailants or four.”