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Masked men gun down bank manager

- Armed criminals carry out daylight assault, gunshot alerts residents of the area

Darbhanga, March 15: Around four-five masked criminals today shot the Uttar Bihar Gramin Bank branch manager, Vijay Kumar Jha, around 10.30am at his office.

The manager was sitting on his chair after unlocking the gate of the bank at Bhalpatti village under the jurisdiction of the Sadar police station.

Jha was a resident of Jhanjharpur in Madhubani district.

Apart from the manager, cashier Shingheshwar Thakur and an orderly are the other employees of the bank. No other official was present during the attack.

The criminals, however, could not loot cash as the keys to the locker were in the dicky of the manager’s bike parked on the bank premises.

The criminals managed to flee before the other employees reached the bank. Some villagers heard a gunshot and saw the gang escape.

Soon after, villagers gathered at the bank, about 190km northeast of Patna.

The senior superintendent of police, Kumar Aikely, told The Telegraph: “The branch manager of Uttar Bihar Gramin Bank at Bhalpatti was shot dead at his office. We have registered the case. The primary investigation is on and it is too early to arrive at any conclusion.”

Aikely said: “The body has been sent for post-mortem to Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital. After that, the body would be handed over to the family members. Since the criminals did not use any motor vehicle, they probably live nearby. We have recovered a country-made pistol and used cartridges.”

Bhalpatti resident Lalit Kumar said: “When the incident occurred, the manager was alone in the bank. We saw some masked persons fleeing after we heard firing. Before we could understand what was happening, the criminals had fled the spot.”

He added: “We came to know the criminals did not rob the bank but killed the manager. If they had to kill him, they could have done so on his way here to the bank as the manager used to rife through deserted stretches. They, perhaps, wanted to loot the bank but the keys to the locker were in the manager’s bike’s dicky.

Rambabu Chaupal, the zilla parishad of Sadar block, said: “The bank is at the centre of the village but none of the villagers could understand what was happening. The population of the village is over 60,000. The crime was committed in daylight. It proves how daring the criminals have become.”