HELPLINE OF NO HELP; ARMED MEN LOOT BANK

Khurda: The loot of a private bank by four armed robbers in broad daylight at Siddheswar Marg here, Tuesday, about 400 metres from the Town police station, has exposed laxity in the emergency police helpline number 100.
The robbers, armed with guns and billhook, stormed the Bandhan Bank branch in the afternoon, held all the six employees of the bank at gunpoint and fled with Rs 5.96 lakh cash and some documents.
The bank employees said although they repeatedly dialled the police helpline number 100 after the robbery, the call went unanswered. The robbers took Samantarapur route to reach the National Highway 16 and vanished.
Later, superintendent of police (SP) Dipti Ranjan Ray, additional SP and Town police station inspector-in-charge visited the bank where the police had recovered the billhook left behind by the robbers. The police registered a case under Sections 394 of IPC and Section 25 of Arms Act and began a probe.
According to sources, all the six employees of the bank reached the Siddheswar Marg branch Tuesday afternoon after collecting cash from 32 women self help groups (SHGs). The employees were busy counting the cash when a woman customer wearing hijab entered the branch at 2pm.
At the same time, the four robbers also arrived there on two bikes and entered the branch along with the woman. While two youths were wearing helmets, two others were wearing masks. Two of them were communicating in Oriya, sources said.
Three of them were wielding guns while another was holding billhook. They terrorised the employees with the guns and billhook. They assaulted an employee, Srinivas Sahu, and grabbed all the cash. They also broke open a safe in the cash counting room and took away some documents.
The robbers damaged the CCTV cameras installed at the branch, took away the computer hard disk and locked the employees in a room and bolted it from outside. They left behind the billhook before fleeing. The police questioned the woman customer wearing hijab and the bank employees.
“Special squads have been formed and sent to different areas to nab the robbers. The billhook left behind by the robbers will help us crack the case,” the SP said.

PNN

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