In a major robbery, forty lockers at the Reru Chowk branch of Punjab & Sind Bank were broken open on Friday night and their contents emptied.
The robbery was unearthed when Asha Rani, came to clean the bank premises on Saturday morning and discovered that the main gate of the branch and the gate to the strong room containing lockers were open.
She informed the assistant manager of the bank,Jaswant Singh, who informed the police, before reaching the spot.
Police commissioner Gaurav Yadav and other senior police officials including ADCPs Naresh Dogra and Harpreet Mandher rushed to the spot to investigate the robbery.
"There were total 255 lockers in the bank, out of which 40 were forced open," ADCP Dogra told HT. He added that the robbers used gas cutters to break the main gate and the iron gate of the strong rooms and the lockers.
The lock system of the strong room gate was removed, as the robbers could not just break it open, he added.
The ADCP added that exact loss in could not be ascertained so far, as it was up to the locker holders to give information on the valuables they kept in their lockers.
Semi-burnt currency notes of Rs 1,000 were found lying on the floor of strong room, an indication that some lockers contained cash, Dogra added.
"It seems that robbers spent at least 10 hours in the branch. It seems impossible to cut a strong iron gate (at least 7 inches thick) in less time," the ADCP added.
He added that forensic experts and finger print lifting officials had been pressed into service to collect evidence and clues from the spot.
Mobile service providers have been asked to provide details of numbers operational in the area during the night.
ADCP Dogra did not rule out the possible involvement of insiders in the robbery.
"Yes, the branch lacked security. No security guard had been employed. Even CCTV had not been installed in spite of repeated instructions from the police," Dogra told HT.
Zonal security in-charge of the bank, Jasbir Singh, admitted that there was lack of security system. He alleged that senior authorities of the bank had ignored his three letters to increase the security of the bank and make some arrangements, but the pleas were ignored.
Meanwhile, as soon as information about the robbery spread, locker holders started arriving in the branch. However, cops cordoned off the area of the crime to avoid damage to clues from the spot.