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Vikash Sharma

Police on Sunday claimed to have cracked the mystery surrounding the theft of around 1.6 kg of mortgaged gold ornaments from the State Bank of India’s Laxmipur branch in Koraput district by arresting an ex-staff.

The accused has been identified as Sekhar Kuldipiya, who was working as a messenger of SBI Laxmipur between 2014 and August 2020. He was earlier removed from the messenger service over misconduct.

Though the theft of the gold ornaments occurred in November 2021, a formal complaint in connection with the incident was registered in January this year.

Senior police officials said that on January 14, 2022, the branch manager of the bank had lodged a formal complaint alleging that some miscreants had stolen 21 packets of gold ornaments weighing over 1 kg from the bank’s locker.

During investigation, it was found that the accused Sekhar Kuldipiya used to frequently visit the bank despite being removed from the messenger service. On November 30 last year, Sekhar entered the bank at around 3 pm and managed to hide inside the server room.

After all the bank staff left at around 8 pm, Sekhar came out and went straight into the branch manager’s cabin. As Sekhar was aware of every location inside the bank, he managed to gain access to the keys of strong room and iron chest.

“After entering the strong room, the accused took out 21 packets containing the mortgaged gold ornaments by using the keys. He then straight went to the server room after placing back the keys inside the drawer of the branch manager,” said Koraput SP, Varun Guntupalli.

After committing the crime, Sekhar remained inside the bank throughout the night and he managed to sneak out after the bank opened for regular transactions at around 10 am the next day.

Sources said police zeroed in on Sekhar based on credible evidence received from the CCTV camera. The accused subsequently confessed to his crime and gave recovery of the gold ornaments. Apart from the stolen gold ornaments, police have also seized Rs 2.95 lakh cash and household articles worth over Rs 1 lakh, the SP added.

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