In a shocking incident, a State Bank of India security guard gunned down his colleague and a cashier during peak banking hours here on Friday.
The police said Sunil Sarkar, 50, who has been working at the Ramesh Chandra Mitra Street branch in Bhowanipore for 15 years, first shot fellow security guard Radhakrishna Mondal, 55, with his service rifle on the third floor, and then came hurrying down to the ground floor to shoot the cashier, Manab Basu.
Being one of the busiest localities in south Kolkata, panic spread fast, forcing bank authorities to stop operations for the day.
“Both victims were shot in the neck and the chest from a very close range. Soon after, Sarkar surrendered before the manager. Bank officials called up the police and Sarkar was arrested. We’ve initiated an inquiry to find out the motive. There are a lot of inconsistencies in his version,” a senior police officer said.
Soon after the shootout, Mondal and Basu were rushed to SSKM hospital. The hospital authorities said both the victims had been ‘brought dead.’ The police suspect that while Mondal died on the spot, Basu died on way to the hospital.
The cops have slapped Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC and sections 25 and 27 of the Arms Act on the accused. The homicide branch of Lalbazar detective department is investigating the murders. The police have seized Sarkar’s weapon and are checking CCTV footage at the bank to reconstruct the sequence of events. A forensic team and a dog squad were also pressed into service on Friday.
“We’re questioning bank officials and customers present at the time of the shooting. It seems to be a planned murder. We’re trying to find out if Sarkar suffered from some kind of mental instability. A psychiatrist might also be consulted,” the police official added.
The police also say that both Mondal and Bose used to taunt Sarkar on the slightest pretext. The shootout might be the result of this longstanding enmity.
Both Sarkar and Mondal were retired armymen. The police are trying to contact Sarkar’s family to find out if he had some sort of a mental disorder. If the accused is, indeed, mentally unstable, questions about how he was put in charge of security with a weapon, without proper background verification, will also be raised.