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From past to present: Ludhiana relives 1987 bank heist; know all about India's biggest robbery of its time

Written by  Shgun S -- June 10th 2023 06:07 PM -- Updated: June 10th 2023 06:13 PM
From past to present: Ludhiana relives 1987 bank heist; know all about India's biggest robbery of its time

From past to present: Ludhiana relives 1987 bank heist; know all about India's biggest robbery of its time

Ludhaiana robbery: Ludhiana on Saturday relived the infamous bank robbery from over 30 years ago - the 1987 Ludhiana bank heist. Armed miscreants robbed a security firm’s office of Rs 7 crore and fled away with a cash van in the wee hours of Saturday.

The gang of masked robbers held the security firm’s employees captive in the Aman Park area of New Rajguru Nagar.

 According to the police, the security firm CMS, which provides services to many banks, operates from its Rajguru Nagar office.

At least ten masked robbers struck at 2.30 a.m., with two barging in through the front door and eight others breaking in through the back door.

The robbers held five employees captive at gunpoint and stole 4 crore from the office and also stole a cash vehicle containing another 3 crore.

Also Read | Ludhiana robbery: Armed robbers decamp with Rs 7 crore from security firm’s office

1987 Ludhiana bank heist - One of India’s biggest bank robberies at the time

It was 1987 when over 10 people managed to flee away with over 5 crore fromLudhiana's Punjab National Bank without firing a shot

Notably, 12 alleged Khalistani militants of the Khalistan Commando Force decamped with Rs 5.7 crore from RBI's currency chest. It was one of the biggest robberies in the country at that time.

The accused disguised themselves as police officers and entered the bank on the pretext of checking security arrangements.

1987 Ludhiana bank heist | What exactly happened?

The 1987 Ludhiana bank heist took place on February 12, 1987.

The incident took place at the Punjab National Bank branch in Ludhiana's commercial centre, known as Bank Square.

According to the CBI investigation, the two-hour-long theft involved around 20 terrorists. Some of them, posing as cops, had entered the bank at 9.10 a.m. under the pretext of checking the security arrangement. When the staff arrived, the armed intruders told them to sit down and lower their heads.

They had locked bank personnel and customers inside the strong room after collecting the cash and fled in two matadors and one Fiat car. The robbers were all between the ages of 20 and 40.

1987 Ludhiana bank heist | What happened with the money?

The money looted from the PNB bank enabled the Khalistan Commando Force to buy sophisticated weapons and AK-47 rifles for the organisation. Sikh militants often used to rob banks to fund their campaign against the Indian government.

1987 Ludhiana bank heist | Names of accused

A few years after the big robber, the main accused and Sikh Students Federation ex-president Daljit Singh Bittu and his associate Gursharan Singh Gama were arrested in 1996.

Others -

Maan Singh Dholewal

Gurjant Singh

Harjinder Singh Lalli

Harbhajan Singh

Saroop Singh

Balwinder Singh

Sewa Singh

Avtar Singh

Mohan Singh

1987 Ludhiana bank heist | SC acquits nine

The Supreme Court acquitted nine people sentenced to ten years in prison under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act in January 2017.

According to counsel RK Kapoor, who argued for one of the prisoners, a Bench comprised of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Rohinton Fali Nariman held that the CBI had failed to prove that the Rs 60 lakh recovered from the convicts was part of the looted money.

On November 20, 2012, the TADA Special Judge in Ludhiana found Daljit Bittu and his associate Gursharan Gama guilty. The two were allegedly associated with Khalistan Commando Force 'Gen' Labh Singh.

Also Read | India dominates digital payment landscape; tops list of five countries



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