Chennai: Two employees of a leading finance company, who were carrying three bags of gold coins, were assaulted and robbed of their gold chain and cell phones by the driver of an autorickshaw in which they were travelling, at Koyambedu on Wednesday.
In the melee, police say, the auto driver and his accomplice also decamped with a bag containing 2.5 kg of gold coins worth Rs 60 lakh from the duo.
M Senthil Kumar, 29, senior executive in Muthoot Finance Company at Coimbatore, and S Ramanathan, 46, a staffer of the firm in Pollachi, arrived in the city to collect gold coins from the company's office at Choolaimedu. The duo checked into a lodge at Egmore.
On Wednesday, after collecting three bags of gold coins, each weighing 2.5 kg, they vacated their room around 9 pm to board an SETC bus - scheduled to leave for Coimbatore at 10.15 pm - at CMBT in Koyambedu.
No sooner did the duo get into an autorickshaw at Egmore than the driver stopped and picked up another man, Joint Commissioner (West Zone) K Shanker told Express. The two employees became suspicious when the driver, instead of going in the direction of CMBT, took a detour and went to Maduravoyal and eventually stopped at a dead-end in a deserted lane near Koyambedu check-post. The auto driver brandished a knife and threatened Senthil Kumar and Ramanathan, asking them to hand over their gold chain and cell phones.
When Senthil Kumar resisted, he was attacked and injured on his left hand, the JCP said. The auto driver snatched Senthil Kumar's gold chain and three cell phones and pushed him out.
Meanwhile, Ramanathan managed to get out of the vehicle with two bags of gold coins. In a bid to escape from the scene, the driver took off before the senior executive could remove the third bag, which he had placed in the rack behind the seat, Investigating Officer Subramani told Express.
"The modus operandi pointed to the involvement of an autorickshaw gang that stole gold chains and cell phones from passengers," he said.
"The driver's intention was not to steal the gold bag, which could not be removed, as the auto was driven off in a hurry." A case was registered with the Koyambedu police station.
JCP Shanker said six special teams had been formed to trace the culprits. Gangs operating in north Chennai and employees of the finance company were under the scanner, according to the police officer.