Police launch hunt for Bangalore ATM attacker

Bangalore, Nov 20: Police has launched a hunt to nab the man who attacked a woman bank officer with a machete at an ATM in the heart of the Karnataka capital early Tuesday, causing her grievous injury.

"We have formed special teams to crack the case and alerted districts across the state to look out for the accused. We have shared closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera footage with district police," Bangalore Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradakar told reporters here.

The city police also rushed teams to neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for help from its counterparts in tracing the accused, who appears to be between 25-35 years.

"We are confident of nabbing the assailant soon from clues obtained from the footage and a statement recorded from the victim (Jyothi Udaykumar), with great difficulty, as she is weak due to heavy loss of blood, and in a state shock," Auradkar said.

The police commissioner visited the victim, under treatment at a private hospital in the city's southwest suburb.

Blaming the state-run Corporation Bank for serious security lapses such as absence of guards and safety measures in its ATM kiosk located in the city centre, Auradkar said all state-run and private banks were recently given a set of guidelines to secure their ATM kiosks, branches and offices to prevent such incidents.

"We will send our personnel to all banks to verify if they have implemented the guidelines to secure their premises, including ATMs, as safety of customers is their primary duty," Auradkar asserted.

In a related development, state Home Minister K.J. George held a two-hour meeting with top officials, including Director General of Police (DGP) Lalrokhuma Pachuau, Auradkar and others to review the situation following the bloody attack.

"I have directed the police to nab the assailant and crack the case at the earliest, as what happened to Jyothi is not only unfortunate but shocking to all. I commend her courage to have braved the assault and survived, with severe injuries on her head and face," George told reporters.

The 44-year-old Jyothi, a manager in the bank's Mission Road branch, was found unconscious in the blood-stained kiosk nearly three hours after the assailant disappeared with her cash (Rs.2,500) and mobile handset.

No security guard was present at the kiosk when the horrifying incident took place, which sent shock waves across the city after the police released the CCTV footage to news channels late Tuesday for information or tip-offs about the assailant from the public.

Police registered a case under Section 397 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which relates to attempting to cause death or grievous injury while committing robbery or dacoity.

Video footage obtained from the bank shows the unmasked assailant entering the kiosk when Jyothi was in front of the ATM to draw cash, and threatening her after downing the shutter from inside.

"As seen in the footage, the assailant took out a country pistol and a machete from a shoulder bag and asked Jyothi to draw cash from the ATM. When she tried to escape, he pushed her in a corner and hit her on the head and face with a machete. After checking her bag, he left the kiosk by again pulling down its shutter from outside," city deputy commissioner of police (DCP) D C Rajappa told IANS.

The bank's ATM kiosk is located on the ground floor of the Life Insurance Corporation building, diagonally opposite the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) head office in the Corporation Circle and a furlong from the Ulsoor Gate police station.


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