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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chennai Police Swift response to Bank robbery - 5 killed in encounter at Velacherry

Coming as it did, one after the another, the bank robberies had created panic – the gun culture is new to Chennai.  There have been instances of murders, stabbing, cuts with arrival but brandishing guns have not been so heard of !!

Yesterday (22nd Feb 12), the City police  released footage of a man suspected to be part of the gang that robbed a bank in Keelkattalai on Monday and another one in Perungudi on January 23.   It was a photo taken from  CCTV cameras at one of the banks where he did a recce. City Police had declared a reward of Rs 1 lakh to those giving valid information about the robbers.  Police commissioner J K Tripathy released photographs and a one-minute video of the suspect at a press conference. The visuals showed a lightly bearded man of moderate built, wearing a checked shirt and blue jeans.  It was stated that employees of both the banks which were robbed confirmed having seen him.

The Police had put in concerted efforts – the bank employees were involved in checking the cctv footages from various sources for identifying the culprits.  Nine police teams had been formed and they were trying to trail the red Maruti Omni that suspects had used.   Police had announced separate nos. for informing them and had announced that the informer’s identity will be kept secret.

All regular routine follow-up measures one thought !! 

As one could recall in a daring robbery at  Indian Overseas Bank(IOB) branch in Keelkattalai  a gang had herded the staff and customers into strong room and made away with 14 lakhs; the same gang was believed to be behind the other heist at Perungudi on Jan 23 whence they took 19 lakhs in cash.    There were similarities – in both incidents robbers took only cash, chose to target the bank @ 0130 pm, they did not mask their face, they were in the age group between 20 – 25; spoke Hindi and wielded guns.

Chennai woke up differently this morning with the news of an encounter at Velachery in which 5 men were killed.  Now the available reports suggest that the  midnight encounter that went on into the little hours of Thursday[today 23rd Feb 2012], Chennai police shot and killed five persons who are alleged to have looted two public sector banks of Rs 30 lakhs in two separate incidents. All of them reportedly hail from West Bengal and Bihar.  Acting on a tip off by a resident, police team  under the instructions of Commissioner Tripathy surrounded the house in which the suspects were holed up and asked them to surrender. This was greeted with gunfire, returned by police. The firing encounter took place for an hour that left two constables injured as well. Police recovered a large amount of cash from the spot.

The house where the burglars had hidden was in  Housing Board colony on Rajaji Street in Velachery and the raid took place  around 1 a.m. this morning.  Joint Commissioner of Police (South) Shanmugarajeshwaran is quoted as saying said that there was a brief exchange of fire. A 14-member police team spilt into two groups and fired through the windows of the one-bedroom apartment, he said. The police eventually managed to break-in through the main door. Two policemen, Ravi and Christian Jayasil, were injured in the crossfire.

All the five suspects, estimated to be around 30-35 years old, were killed. They are all believed to be from Bihar. A West Bengal driving licence was recovered. The victims have been identified as Vinod Kumar, Chandri Khare, Vinay Prasad, Abhay Kumar, and Harish Kumar.  Inside their room, two bags containing wads of cash were found. The bags also contained five pistols and two revolvers, police said.  Though the men had been living in the colony for at least the last three months, neighbours said that they never noticed anything unusual. None of them were also aware of the gunfight. They all slept peacefully and woke up on Thursday morning to find their neighbourhood teeming with police personnel.

Vehicles used by them were also reported to have been seized.  Local TV news stated that one of the robbers had joined Engineering at a University / College in the outskirts of Chennai on way to Chingleput, had discontinued and was known to have been involved in many petty skirmishes and crimes.

The present head – Mr JK Tripathy is known for his strict measures and is credited with many new initiatives in proactive policing.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. God only knows whether they were REAL CULPRITS or something fabricated story makeover by the Chennai police.Crime records has shown more than 50,000 head top of chennai police last year without taking any action.I think its a fake image cover to make the cops feels better in public percepective !!!

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