Bank bandits cash in on lax security

Unsafe vaults
Last Updated 13 March 2010, 19:23 IST

The total number of crimes, including robbery, dacoity, theft, burglary and even murder on bank premises across the country rose by 6.6 per cent to 595 in 2009 from 558 the year before. Banks, the Union Finance Ministry has admitted, are the favourite targets of criminals or wannabe get-rich-quick desperados.

Needless to say that the surge in bank-related crimes has drawn the attention of authorities, including the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to the frequency of these crimes and the seeming ease with which they are carried out.

The paramount question that is bedevilling Finance Ministry and RBI officials is how safe and secure are banks and the money deposits and valuables that lie in their vaults.

Rise in crimes

“The RBI has reported that there has been some rise in various crimes, including murders, on bank premises during the last three years,” Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena informed the Lok Sabha recently. While the 2009 figures alarming, in 2008, they rose by 10 per cent from 507 incidents the previous year, showing an exponential surge.

Among the states, Punjab leads the chart with the highest number of crimes with 60 incidents in 2009, followed by Uttar Pradesh (54) and Andhra Pradesh (50).
Uttar Pradesh leads in the amount of money decamped in such crimes in 2009 at
Rs 292.29 lakh followed by Rs 272.21 lakh in West Bengal and Rs 253.73 lakh in Orissa.

Though the number of crimes has been on the rise at the national level, too, the amount of money lost came down to Rs 20.52 crore in 2009 compared with Rs 23.56 crore in 2008.  During 2007, the money lost due to the crimes from the banks  stood at Rs 15.60 crore.

In the face of growing criminal activities in banks, despite  stepping up security at their branches, no state government has so far floated any exclusive police squad to extend security to any public or private financial  institutions.

However, in a first of its kind in the country, the Ahmedabad Police recently announced  a special squad in the city for patrolling all major financial institutions and commercial centres.

(Published 13 March 2010, 19:23 IST)

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