STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Malda, 14 November
A daring robbery at Debipur branch of United Bank of India in the Ratua police station this afternoon has stunned bank employees as well as locals. A gang of nine or 10 dacoits looted the vault and the cash-box of the bank. The personal items of the bank employees and the consumers present there were also looted by the gang. According to primary estimate, approximately Rs 7 lakh was looted altogether. The SP, Malda, Mr Kalyan Mukherjee, claimed in the evening that six robbers were arrested in the evening and Rs 1 lakh was found from them.
Eye witnesses informed that the robbers entered the bank around 2.30 p.m. under guise of consumers. Soon they brought out their firearms and first confined five or six consumers present there. They then started looting the bank keeping the manager Mr Barun Dubey at gun-point. The cash-box was snatched away from the cashier. Accomplishing the operation in nearly 20 minutes, the gang scampered away on motorcycles.
As the bank staff and consumers raised a cry, locals rushed to the spot. On being informed, the Officer-in-charge of Ratua police station Mr Vijay Singha Roy, chased the gang with a contingent of police  but the robbers reportedly managed to run away crossing Fulohar river towards Bihar.
The bank manager, Mr Dubey, said the robbers snatched away valuable personal properties of the bank employees and consumers too.
The Regional manager of the bank, Mr Sanjay Roy, who rushed to Debipur shortly after the robbery, said: “Debipur branch of the bank is lodged in a rented house. Being a smaller branch, it does not keep a large amount of cash. The robbers looted the entire amount as we have leant primarily. Approximately Rs 7 lakh has been looted. Further calculation would reveal the exact amount of loss.”
A retired school teacher, Lakshmi Sinha said: “I went to the bank for withdrawing money. Suddenly some 10 youths stormed in and confined us to a corner. When I tried to protest, they hit me with the butt of a firearm. Looting the vault and cash-box the robbers fled exploding bombs in large numbers.”
The SP, Malda, Mr Kalyan Mukherjee, said: “As per primary information, the robber gang came on three motorcycles. They hid faces with helmets. We have booked six of them near Lava bridge in the Harischandrapur police station and recovered Rs 1 lakh from them. A search is on for other robbers.”
Police primarily anticipated that the robber gang was from Bihar but they had connection with some local goons.