Bhagalpur, Oct. 31: A group of motorcycle-borne criminals intercepted a car transporting UCO Bank’s cash near Champanagar bridge on NH-80 this afternoon and looted Rs 15 lakh.
Sources said the cash was being sent to the bank’s Sambhuganj branch in Banka from its Tilkamanjhi branch. Abinash Ranjan, an employee of the bank’s Sambhuganj branch, and an unarmed guard were carrying the cash in the car when the criminals intercepted it.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Bhagalpur, K.S. Anupam, said five to six persons looted the cash kept in a bag inside the car. They were on three motorcycles.
The sources said after chasing the cash-laden car of a bank employee for some distance, the criminals forced its driver to stop the vehicle near the bridge on the outskirts of the town. They snatched the bag containing Rs 15 lakh from Abinash at gunpoint and fled. The unarmed guard accompanying him was hardly of any help.
Several persons saw the looters flee brandishing firearms, as the incident occurred around 3pm.
Describing the incident as a daredevil act, one among them said: “The loot proves that the criminals are not afraid of the police. Else, how they could have dared to stop a car barely a few metres away from Champanagar police station and loot the cash?”
Anupam, the SSP, passed the buck on the management of UCO Bank’s Sambhuganj, though. She claimed that it violated the basic norm of transporting cash.
“We always urge the banks’ management here to be careful while transporting cash and follow the basic security norms. But no one seems to be bothered,” the SSP said.
The bank management allegedly did not keep the police in the loop on transporting such a huge sum of money despite having the cellphone numbers of all the senior police personnel, including the SSP.
“It is difficult to fathom how the management of the bank’s Sambhuganj branch could send just one employee with an unarmed guard to fetch the cash from the Tilkamanjhi branch. Even steel box with chains was not used for transporting the money. The cash was kept inside a travelling bag,” she said.
“We would certainly write to the bank’s higher authorities about such security lapses on the part of the bank’s local management,” she said, adding that that the police were investigating the case.
The daylight loot has triggered posers on the law and order situation in the town.
“If criminals can strike so close to a police station, I shudder imagining what can happen at remote places,” said a resident of the town.