A comedy of errors prevailed for a couple of hours in Ara town in Bhojpur district of Bihar on Wednesday after a group of armed miscreants allegedly robbed Rs 16.5 lakh from a private bank.
A few employees escaped when the robbery started and told police that they had downed the shutters of the bank to trap the robbers. A police team, including senior officials, rushed to the spot after getting information about the incident.
The police sealed the area, surrounded the bank branch as far as they could, pushed away the bystanders, and started preparing for an encounter with the "criminals" in earnest. Traffic movement on the road was stopped.
Not leaving any stone unturned, snipers and commandos took position on rooftops around the bank. Bulletproof jackets were pulled out and Bhojpur SP Pramod Kumar Yadav donned one such jacket while getting ready to launch an assault.
The police, in all fairness, thought of giving the trapped miscreants a chance to surrender before shooting it out with them. They used public address systems to appeal to them to lay down their arms and hand themselves over. However, nothing happened for around two hours.
Finally, the police decided to break into the bank branch. But there was no miscreant inside. CCTV footage showed that they entered the premises at around 10:15am and decamped with the booty within four minutes.
“We got a call around 10:30am that a few criminals had entered the private bank branch and were trapped inside. Our teams rushed there and surrounded the place. Some of our officials went inside and found that several bank employees were locked in a room. They were rescued,” Yadav said.
“The CCTV footage revealed that five criminals, all in the age group of 18 to 20 years had robbed the bank. They were carrying country-made pistols. They took away Rs 16.5 lakh but failed to open the safe kept in the branch,” Yadav added.
The SP said it was probably the miscreants themselves who locked the gates of the bank before fleeing.