Burglars loot SBI Branch operating in DRM/Ranchi premises on S.E.Railway

Bank Robbery in Railway premises
Forensic experts examine a locker and the main entrance (right) of the SBI branch in Hatia, Ranchi, on Tuesday

हटिया Hatia (HTE): Burglars broke into a State Bank of India (SBI) branch operating from the office premises of Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) of South Eastern Railway at Hatia in the heart of Ranchi and stole CCTV cameras, its accessories and other items, exposing the security chinks at an important railway establishment.

However, no cash went missing even though the criminals had tried to break open the vault. A canteen, which is located in front of the bank, was also targeted.

The heist, which came to light early on Tuesday, disrupted banking services at the branch that caters to more than 7,000 account-holders and does a business of Rs 48 crore every year since its establishment in 2007.

Branch manager Sanjay Kumar Sharma said he came to know about the burglary from police.

gateI was taken aback when officer-in-charge of railway police station, Hatia, Kumar Rajeev, informed me about the theft around 7am. I rushed to the bank and found two locks on the grille gate and one on the wooden one broken. A number of items starting from CCTV cameras, its accessories, routers, switches and modems were missing,” Sharma said.

The manager added that he was more worried about the cash that was tucked away in a vault, but was relieved to see the safe unbroken.

“The vault was damaged, which indicates that the gang had tried to open it but failed,” Sharma added.

Burglars also cut the computer cables and damaged the PCs/Computers in the Branch including the network hub.  State Bank of India’s System Integrator (SI) company M/s.Dimension Data India Limited was asked to restore the network hardware and cables to which the SI had expeditiously restored the network in coordination with service providers and enabled Bank establish its operations early.

Sandhya Shah, who runs Suruchi Sarvo Canteen on the same premises, said the criminals struck at her canteen too.

“They cut open two locks to the enter the kitchen and service room and decamped with an LPG cylinder, a few bottles of soft drink and water besides some fried fish that was kept in refrigerator,” she said.

An FIR has been registered at Jagannathpur police station on the basis of Sharma’s statements.

A team from the State Forensic Science Laboratory and a dog squad collected evidence from the spot on Tuesday even as two vehicles, one a Bolero and an Alto, belonging to outsiders remain suspiciously parked near the parking zone.

The Bolero, bearing registration number JH-01E 0372, was later identified as the official vehicle of Deoghar divisional forest officer Rajeev Ranjan, which was reported missing from Ashok Nagar in Argora on Monday night. The Alto with the registration number JH-01AE 2557 could not be identified.

Divisional security commissioner of South Eastern Railway Bhawani Shanker Nath said this was the first time that such an incident took place at the DRM’s office and they would be questioning the security guard.

Asked about the security lapses, Nath, whose office is also located on the same premises, cited manpower crunch. “Our division has only 299 RPF personnel against the sanctioned strength of 480. We can depute only one guard at the DRM’s office at night though there should be at least two to there,” he said.