Robbers target two ATMs in Hoshiarpur, flee with Rs 23 lakh
Taking advantage of the dense fog and the near absence of security, robbers broke open two ATMs (automated teller machines) of Punjab National Bank (PNB) in the district in the wee hours of Wednesday and fled with more than Rs 23 lakh. The robberies came to light in the morning. A sum of Rs 14.95 lakh was looted from the ATM at Bhunga and Rs 8.12 lakh from the Kandhala Jattan ATM.
The timing and the close proximity of the two bank branches indicate that the same persons were involved. Tyre marks at the site indicated that the robbers came in a car. They sprayed screens of the monitors and CCTV cameras with a dark substance before damaging them. With the help of gas cutters, they broke open the cash boxes and decamped with the cash. Shutters of the ATM chambers were smashed.
The camera of the Bhunga ATM stopped working at 4.04 am, while that of Kandhala Jattan remained operational till 4.53am. CCTV footage at Bhunga showed that two persons with muffled faces had entered the premises. Due to a fault in the system in the other branch, a technical team was called from Chandigarh to retrieve the electronic data.
Neither of the banks had deployed any security guard to protect the ATMs despite similar incidents having occurred in two other PNB branches early this year. An amount of Rs 18.35 lakh was looted from the ATM at Nanda Chaur in June and Rs 9 lakh from Sham Churasi in January. Both cases remain unsolved.
The police said there were three nightwatchmen on duty in the market at Kandhala Jattan on Tuesday night but they claimed not having noticed any disturbance.
Superintendent of police (SP, detective) Jagmohan Singh claimed that night patrolling was carried out in rural areas, but inquiries revealed that no such exercise was undertaken on Tuesday night.
When contacted, PNB circle head VK Bhatia said there were no guidelines from the bank headquarters about hiring of security personnel. He, however, added that it was also the duty of the state police to provide adequate security around such commercial institutions.
Meanwhile, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Narinder Bhargav said a special investigation team, including the superintendent of police (SP, detective), deputy superintendent of police (DSP, rural) and DSP (Tanda), had been constituted to probe the incidents.
"We have found some important clues and we are hopeful to nab the culprits soon," he claimed. Brushing aside allegations of a security lapse, he said the robbers took advantage of the dense fog.
Rachana Hanumanth and Jagrut S, who were among the toppers in the police sub-inspector recruitment exams held in October last year, had approached the HC earlier this month after they were named in the second FIR filed with regards to the case in Bengaluru. Rachana and Jagrut had participated in a protest against the scam earlier. The epicentre of the scam, Kalaburagi, was the exam centre from where most rankers emerged from.
It is not prudent to allow a workman to get his job back when there is loss of mutual trust between the employer and employee, the Karnataka High Court has said. The court therefore ordered a digital services company to pay compensation of ₹10 lakh to the techie who was terminated but did not allow Ashis Kumar Nath's reinstatement to the job.
Veteran politician S M Krishna has written to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, expressing concern that frequent rain havoc in the city would hurt "Brand Bengaluru" and drive away investors. The 90-year old leader, credited by many for putting Bengaluru on the global map, has also made some suggestions aimed at protecting the "Brand Bengaluru." Krishna joined the BJP in 2017 after more than 45 years' association with the Congress.
In a push to make processes hands-free in the IT hub of India, the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation will reportedly replace smart cards, tokens and passes with face recognition technology at the automatic fare collection gates of the Namma Metro stations. The BMRCL had launched one-day and three-day passes on April 2 to increase the Namma Metro's ridership. The one-day passes were priced at Rs. 200, while the three-day passes are priced at Rs. 400.
The family members of Gurnam Singh, 65, who lost Gurnam Singh's life 34 years ago in a road rage incident involving cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in Patiala, said that they are thankful to Almighty for the favourable order. The grandson of Gurnam Singh, Sabby recalled that Sidhu had reacted strongly when he was acquitted. “Take Sidhu's version. We can only say that we are thankful to God,” he added. Sidhu was an international cricketer when the incident took place.