The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Insiders held for bank murder

Gangtok, Feb. 12: As employees of nationalised banks in Sikkim today struck work to protest the murder of a State Bank of India branch manager, police cracked the case with the arrest of two men.

Superintendent of police (south) Mingma Bhutia said the arrested men confessed that they had killed the manager, Dhan Bahadur Diyali, at the bank’s Namthang branch in south Sikkim. He said police recovered the Rs 7 lakh looted from the bank from the men.

One of the arrested men, Prashant Sarkar, was employed as a sweeper with the bank, while Surjya Darji, the other accused, worked in the bank’s canteen. Sarkar was the first to report the murder to the bank staff yesterday morning.

After hitting the manager on the head, Sarkar had strangled him with choya, a rope made from bamboo strips.

Bank employees across the state today stayed away from work to protest Diyali’s murder. As a result, no transaction took place at any branch of the nationalised banks in Sikkim.

The angry bank employees also took out a protest rally in the state capital as residents plastered the walls with posters expressing shock at the murder in a state relatively free of crime.

The SBI Officers’ Association, in a statement, condemned the murder and called for security for bank officials working in remote areas.

Police said both Sarkar and Darji had conspired to murder the manager to steal the money from the bank. Diyali was working in his office alone on Monday night when the two set upon him.

The manager was caught off-guard when Sarkar hit him with the iron rod from behind. As he collapsed on the floor in a pool of blood, Sarkar strangled him as Darji looked on. Then, the assailants walked off with the cash in the bank’s locker. The branch did not have a guard.

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