Vikash Sharma

Dhenkanal: Of late, there has been a spike in loot of cash from the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) in different parts of the State. Blame it on lack of security or other adequate measures, the ATM kiosks in Odisha have now become soft targets of robbers.

On December 15, some miscreants broke into an ATM of the State Bank of India (SBI) under Motanga Police limits in Dhenkanal district, and looted around Rs 26 lakh cash from the ATM after dismantling it with the help of gas cutters.

Taking advantage of non-deployment of any security guard, one of the miscreants first entered the ATM kiosk and after a brief recce, he snapped the wires of the CCTV camera in a bid to destroy the evidence.

However, Police launched an investigation based on the short footage captured by the CCTV before the miscreants made it dysfunctional.

Sources said following a probe and subsequent credible information, police have managed to nab four persons involved in the loot of cash from the ATM. However, the mastermind of the crime is still at large. Efforts are underway to nab the prime culprit, police said.

On many occasions, it was found that most of the inter-state robbers’ gang have targeted ATM kiosks in the State knowing that it is easy to escape after committing the crime.
On October 10, criminals had looted around Rs 27 lakhs from the Punjab National Bank’s ATM under Infocity

Police Station in Bhubaneswar. Two inter-State robbers - Samarjyot Singh who hailed from Punjab and Zafar Sadiq a native of Kerala - were arrested. Both the robbers were nabbed from Vizag.

Prior to that on August 15, seven persons from Baloda Bazar district in Chhattisgarh were arrested in connection with loot of around Rs 29 lakh from SBI ATM in Angul district.

All the accused, who are residents of Haryana, had come to Odisha in a truck. A total of Rs 18.5 lakh cash, two trucks, one car and a gas cutter were seized from their possession. The miscreants had attempted to loot two ATMs in the district and managed to steal Rs 27.9 lakh from one, police said.

(Edited By Devbrat Patnaik)