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Thieves cut open ATM, decamp with Rs 14 lakh

Police not performing, say public after spate of crimes in Siliguri.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

Miscreants broke open an ATM of the Central Bank of India (CBI) at Jotiakali within NJP police station limits in Siliguri last night and made away with more than Rs 14 lakh.

The thieves used gas cutters to break open the machine, police said. The theft is one of the many incidents of crime that Siliguri has witnessed in the recent past, while it comes close on the heels of the Siliguri Metropolitan Police holding a meeting with officials of banks, jewellery shops, finance companies and petrol pumps and instructing them to take steps to boost security in their establishments.

Among the spate of theft and robbery cases, the major one that has happened in the recent past is the armed robbery at the Burdwan branch of Muthoot Finance Ltd in broad daylight on 24 August.

The Central Bank ATM was without a security guard, while CCTV cameras there were not functioning, police said. While no one has been arrested in this connection so far, bank officials were not available for comment on the matter.

As the news spread today, people, including traders and industrialists, expressed concern over the spate of crime that the town has been witnessing. They alleged that the police had failed to control the series of crimes in the last month here.

Police are also yet to arrest anyone in the Muthoot case, where the armed robbers decamped with jewellery and cash amounting to Rs 10 crore. Miscreants also tried break open an ATM at Matigara last month, and another SBI ATM at Dabgram in Siliguri on 4 September. Notably, in September 2011, miscreants had lifted a UBI ATM unit from the Iskcon Temple Road in Siliguri and fled in a car.

They reached a deserted place at Bhabesh More near the Eastern Bypass, six km from the spot, and separated the vault unit and the operating unit by using gas cutters and took away the Rs 4.74 lakh that was inside.

A few days ago, Siliguri mayor Asok Bhattacharya also expressed concerns over the rising incidents of crime in Siliguri.

The secretary of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, North Bengal, Biswajit Das said: “Police should step up vigilance to check crime ahead of Durga puja. We have also appealed to the police to take proper steps.”