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Guard: Made a mistake Guard mum on motive

- Five minutes with family

Sunil Kumar Sarkar said “bhul hoye gechhe (I have made a mistake)” twice in the five minutes he spent with his wife and daughter outside the Bhowanipore police station lock-up on Sunday.

Police said those were the first words of regret uttered by the 57-year-old State Bank of India guard since he gunned down cashier Manab Bose and fellow guard Radhakrishna Mondal in the Bhowanipore branch last Friday.

Sunil, who had spoken barely a word in the past two days, apparently broke his silence on seeing wife Shipra and their daughter for the first time after being remanded in police custody till December 20.

Sarbanash hoye gelo….Onek gulo paribar nashto hoye gelo (this is disastrous….so many families have been destroyed),” a police officer quoted him as saying.

Sunil had been allowed to step out of the police station lock-up for a few minutes on Sunday afternoon when his family came to meet him.

The meeting was allowed under the supervision of the investigating officer in the case.

“He appears to be a man of few words. He is reluctant to speak even to his family,” a source. “In the few minutes he was allowed to meet his wife and daughter today, he mostly kept his head down.”

Till late on Sunday, the police hadn’t found any reason other than alleged jibes from colleagues for Sunil’s fit of rage.

For someone whom everyone knew as being mild-mannered and courteous to a fault, what has been puzzling is the storm within that found such a violent outlet that tragic afternoon.

The Telegraph had highlighted on Sunday, quoting colleagues and other people who knew Sunil well, how his commitment to the SBI job had earned him the nickname “Aamir Khan” after the actor with a reputation for being passionate and finicky about his work.

Soham Bose, the son of the slain cashier, said Sunil never failed to greet him with a smile every time they met at the Bhowanipore branch.

Investigators said Sunil seemed “resigned to fate” and unwilling to speak about what triggered his violent act.

He didn’t ask for a lawyer while being produced in court on Saturday.

“He can have a lawyer the moment he wants one. If he still asks for someone to argue his case when he is next produced in court, we will do the needful,” said a senior officer in the police headquarters.

The rule book states that anyone accused of a crime and arrested for it is entitled to a lawyer whenever he/she is produced in court.

“In the event of the accused being unable to hire a lawyer, he or his family has to make a request to the government for a defence counsel,” an advocate said.

The accused can also plead for the services of a lawyer once the trial starts.

Sunil, who had been employed with SBI’s Bhowanipore branch since 1995, has two children. His daughter is a student of Calcutta University and his son is studying commerce in a south Calcutta college.

The former infantryman from Ichhapore, under North Barrackpore Municipality in North 24-Parganas, is the family’s lone breadwinner.

Cashier Manab is survived by his wife Soma, a government official, and son Soham. Slain guard Radhakrishna left behind his wife and two children.