Bantwal: A massive theft has been reported from Bhagavati Cooperative Bank’s branch operating in the old LIC building in Jodumarga Bantwal – commonly known as B C Road – on Monday morning. It is suspected to have taken place between 10 pm and 12 midnight on Sunday.
As the staff arrived at the premises after the weekend break, the theft was noticed. Satish was the first one to detect it. On initial verification, the loss was reported to the police as Rs 6 crore, which included 22.280 kgs of gold pledged as collateral to the bank for loans. But by evening, the figure was revised to Rs 1.65 crore, which has given rise to suspicions.
The wall of the bank premises lying beside a lane was dug into by the thieves and access gained. The cables of the siren were first cut off. Strong steel bars appear to have been used to break open the locker.
Immediately upon receiving the news, ASP Rahul Kumar, circle inspector Belliappa, town SHO Rakshit and team arrived on the scene. Canine and fingerprint squads also were called in.
Checking the registers, the staff arrived at the figure of Rs 6 crore at first. Later on, the police and the staff jointly verified the status, which revealed the weight of stolen gold to be 6.5 kg. The total loss was calculated as Rs 1.65 crore. Many customers of the bank have expressed outrage that the bank by itself was not sure of the value of the securities and cash held by it.
Even though the valuables stored were of crore-plus worth, there was no watchman on the premises nor had any CCTV system installed.
The police said that it was an act of a professional gang. The modus operandi resembles that used in a loot in a cooperative bank in Karkala town in the past.
Until now the largest loot was in Katipalla where Rs 3 crore-plus was taken away. But for the clarification in this case, this would have beaten that record.