Punjab Police catch INR 8-crore heist masterminds with free fruit drinks

A Punjabi ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ who allegedly masterminded a daring multi-crore heist were nabbed because of their craving for a fruit-flavoured drink near Uttarakhand's Hemkund Sahib, according to media reports.

Mandeep Kaur and Jaswinder Singh went on a pilgrimage to Sikh shrine Hemkund Sahib
Mandeep Kaur (left) and Jaswinder Singh, suspects in the heist, went on a pilgrimage to Sikh shrine Hemkund Sahib. Photo courtesy Twitter/@DGPPunjabPolice

According to the Punjab Police, Mandeep Kaur and her husband Jaswinder Singh planned a heist at the office of a cash management firm at Ludhiana. Armed robbers overpowered guards at the office of CMS Services on June 10 and stole INR 8 crore (SGD 1.3 million) in cash.

Police had also received information that the couple had planned to flee to Nepal, but a lookout notice blocked their plans. They then decided to visit Hemkund Sahib, Kedarnath and Haridwar before planning their next step.

Mandeep Kaur and Jaswinder Singh went on a pilgrimage to Sikh shrine Hemkund Sahib, Ludhiana Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu said.

The police faced the challenge of identifying them in the crowd of devotees.

They set up a free drinks kiosk and distributed packets of a fruit-flavoured drink to the devotees. Unaware of the trap laid for them, the couple came to the kiosk, took their packs and uncovered their faces to drink. The police identified them but did not arrest them until after the couple walked out of the shrine. The two were caught after a short chase.

Police Commissioner Sidhu said a sum of INR 21 lakh was recovered from the couple. Out of the INR 8-crore loot, a sum of nearly INR 6 crore has been recovered by police so far. Police said they have arrested nine accused in the case.

Punjab’s  Director-General Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav said the kingpins of the Ludhiana heist were arrested in less than 100 hours. "Police teams used a professional and scientific approach to solve the multi-crore robbery," he added.

The Ludhiana Police's official Twitter handle said this must serve as a "chilling reminder for all anti-social elements".