The driver of a cash van who fled with Rs. 22.5 crore from southeast Delhi on Thursday evening was arrested by the police hours after the theft that is believed to be the biggest heist in the city.
Pradeep Shukla was caught in a warehouse close to the place where the van was found abandoned last night. All but Rs. 11,000 have been recovered from him. Sources say he used this money to buy clothes and later slept at the warehouse with boxes containing the remaining cash.
The driver fled with the money yesterday when the armed security guard with him stepped out of the van near Govindpuri Metro station to relieve himself. He reportedly told the guard that since he could not stop the vehicle near the metro station, he would take a U-turn and come back. When the guard returned, the vehicle and the driver were nowhere to be seen.
The guard, Vinay Patel, then informed the private bank whose cash they were transporting. The bank authorities immediately called the police.
Five teams of the Delhi Police along with a specialised crime team were deployed to hunt for the driver and the van (DL 1LK 9189), which was soon found at a petrol station close to the spot where the driver had left the guard. However, the boxes of cash were missing, they were recovered from the warehouse where the driver was hiding.
Scores of police check points were set up across the city and checking was intensified at borders. CCTV videos were also obtained from nearby areas and eyewitnesses were examined.
Police said that this could be the biggest cash heist in Delhi after the January 2014 gunpoint robbery of Rs. 7.69 crore from a businessman at BRT corridor near Moolchand flyover.