In what could be the biggest-ever robbery in Odisha, four armed miscreants on Thursday morning looted cash and jewellery worth Rs 12 crore from the branch of IIFL Finance, a leading non-banking finance company, in busy Cuttack town.
Police officials said four miscreants wearing masks and helmets arrived at the Nayasarak branch of IIFL Finance and entered its premises threatening the lone security guard at gunpoint. The miscreants, who spoke in Hindi and Odia, then rounded up the branch manager and other staff in a toilet and snatched the keys of the locker.
“Except 2-3 packets of gold, the robbers mopped up almost all the gold that would be around Rs 12 crore. The incident happened in just 10 minutes,” said Satya Pradhan, manager of the branch. Pradhan said the CCTV camera of the branch was not functional when the robbery took place. IIFL Finance Limited is a major non-banking financial company that gives gold loans, business loans including loans against property and microfinance.
Cuttack deputy commissioner of police Prateek Singh said special teams have been formed to nab the robbers. The borders of the city have been sealed and police officials of neighbouring Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Dhenkanal and Kendrapara have been alerted.
The robbery is likely to be embarrassing for the Naveen Patnaik government as it comes a day before the winter session of the Odisha Assembly. There have been a series of armed robberies of banks and ATMs this year in the state.
Last month, the police commissionerate had advised banks and financial institutions to improve security systems at branches and ATMs.
In February this year, the Ludhiana branch of IIFL also saw a similar robbery when four armed persons decamped with 30 kilograms of gold worth Rs 13 crore and Rs 3.5 lakh cash.