The burglar alarm at Dena Bank’s Dadar branch should have gone off when its safe was opened with duplicate keys and Rs 29.22 lakh stolen on Sunday evening, but it did not. Bank authorities informed the Shivaji Park police investigating the bank robbery that Geeta Puttan, 38, the bank’s sweeper who has since been arrested, knew the password to turn it off.
Though Puttan and her nephew Ritesh Waghela, 25, who is also in police custody, are yet to confess to their involvement in the robbery, the police say several factors hold against the duo.
What has surprised investigators is that while the robber had procured five duplicate keys — two to open locks of the bank door, and three for the safe — the accused had to break open the door which led to the safe, said a police source.
Interestingly, the original set of keys to the door that was broken open with a rod and hacksaw was entrusted with Puttan. “We suspect that she wanted to show that the accused could not make a duplicate of the keys that were with her, thereby ruling out her involvement. It appears to be a deliberate move to sidetrack investigations,” said a senior police officer.
Investigators also suspect her role because the bank had refused to employ her on a permanent basis even after she had worked there for 18 years. Puttan had also asked for a salary hike recently, which was turned down, said the officer.
Though the officers at Shivaji Park police station continue to follow other leads as well, Puttan and Waghela were produced before a court which remanded them in police custody till September 10.
Though Puttan, who hails from Gujarat, was married, she had not been staying with her husband, the police said. They searched Puttan’s Nallasopara residence in search for the stolen booty, but found nothing.
The police are also checking Puttan’s involvement in the break-in at the same bank in 2006, when an unidentified accused made way with Rs 20.40 lakh.