HOWRAH: Two State Bank of India ATMs in Howrah’s Liluah were broken in between Thursday night and the early hours of Friday as miscreants made off with Rs 30 lakh. The ATMs, one at Liluah’s Jagadishpur and the other at Kona’s Tetultala, had defunct CCTVs and no private security guards, cops said. The break in was noticed around 7am on Friday when customers found the machines cut open and empty of cash.

After speaking with the bank officials, cops said around Rs 18 lakh had been looted from the Jagadishpur and Rs 12 lakh was stolen from the one at Tetultala.

On inspecting the ATMs, located 4.5km apart, sleuths said it was evident that gas cutters had been used to cut open the machines. The assigned agency of the bank had deposited cash at both ATMs on Thursday evening.

Both cops and locals said there had been an attempt to break into the ATM at Jagadishpur six months ago. But the sound of gas cutters woke up shop owners who stay at Jagadishpur bazaar. They had rushed out, but the miscreants managed to flee. However, heavy rain on Thursday night apparently helped the gang carry out their operations smoothly.

“Since the attempt six months ago, we have been repeatedly requesting the bank officials to install private security guards and repair CCTV cameras at both ATMs. We had also requested them to install hidden CCTV cameras atop lampposts opposite the ATMs. Initially, the bank officials said they would do so within three months. But when the bank did neither, we again pursued the matter. The officials kept telling us they would inform their higher authorities every time we reminded them over the last three months,” said one of the local residents.

City Police DCDD Ranendranath Banerjee said, “We have got some clues and an inter-state gang seems to be behind the break ins. We have collected what seem to be similar four-wheeler tyre casts from roads in front of both ATMs. A forensic team will inspect both premises.”

A senior official said, “We can’t comment on the lawand-order situation. An FIR has been lodged by SBI and money in ATMs is always insured.” Asked about the lack of security and alleged defunct CCTVs, the official said, “It is not feasible to appoint private security agencies for all ATMs. We are looking into whether the CCTVs were operative or not.”
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