In a daylight robbery, a gunner of a cash van was shot dead and a bag containing around Rs 7 lakh case was snatched away by an unidentified men only a couple of kilometres away from the Raj Bhavan in the high-security VVIP zone in the state capital in Lucknow.
The robbery took place at a distance of about a couple of kilometres from the official residence of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and the state Assembly, a day after the successful conclusion of a mega business event, in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present.
Police said the incident took place at around 3.30 pm on Monday on the service lane adjacent to the Raj Bhavan colony on Mahatma Gandhi Marg and opposite Axis Bank.
"The people in the van were going to the bank after collecting cash (in a bag) from different branches. The deceased has been identified as Indramohan, who was the gunner with the private cash van. The driver of the van and the custodian have also been seriously injured in the incident," Additional Superintendent of Police (Lucknow East) Sarvesh Mishra said.
He added that so far, the role of only one of the robber had come to light.
"We are going through the CCTV footage and also the footage obtained from various points, from where cash was collected to trace the culprit," Mr Mishra said.
The site of the crime is very close to the official residence of state minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi.
The attacker fled with around Rs 6-7 lakh, the police said.
Meanwhile, the DGP and ADGP (law and order) inspected the spot.
A spokesperson of the Uttar Pradesh police, in a statement, said, "A team of the UP STF has been formed to crack the case. Six teams of the Lucknow Police have also been formed to probe the case and make arrests. Instructions have been issued to undertake intensive checking in all the bordering districts of the state capital. Instructions have been issued to nab all the culprits involved in looting of cash vans in the last 10 years."
As the news spread, the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Congress lashed out at the BJP-led government in the state.
In a statement, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said, "With the crime graph of the state rising, who will come to invest in the state or set up industries? The BJP has blocked the development of the state and has, in fact, started investing in the development of crime."
He claimed that an amount of Rs 20 lakh was looted from the cash van. A similar claim was also made by the Congress.
Mr Yadav, a former Uttar Pradesh chief minister, also said, "Criminals are roaming freely in the state and the law-and-order situation is deteriorating. The government and administration have proved themselves to be incompetent in controlling such broad daylight incidents of crime."
State Congress spokesperson Ashok Singh said, "The law-and-order mechanism has collapsed in the state as more than Rs 20 lakh have been looted in broad daylight and a person has been killed. This is a very shameful incident for the police and administration."
For more Lucknow stories, click here.