It was petrol station manager Muralidhar’s refusal to hand over his cash bag to the gunman who terrorised the bank that cost him his life.

The 45-year-old had come to deposit the station’s takings when the gunman walked into the first floor branch of Corporation Bank here on Monday afternoon, rolled down the shutter, went to manager Suresh Babu’s cabin and demanded money.

Mr. Babu, who was with two customers, went to the cashier and instructed him to hand over the cash.

It was just a coincidence that Muralidhar was standing there to deposit the cash.

When the gunman tried to grab his cash bag, the latter resisted, and took a bullet in his arm, puncturing an artery.

Trapped inside

The gunman then snatched the cash, stuffed it into his backpack, and fled from the bank, rolling down the shutters as he escaped, the police said and added that he got away with Rs. 15,23,927 in cash.

It is not clear if he had grabbed Muralidhar’s money also. The police said that people inside the bank broke the window to alert others about the gunman’s escape.

The siren too went off later on. However, shopkeepers downstairs appeared to be oblivious of the attack. A man who runs a garment shop said: “We were not aware of the incident till we saw someone being carried downstairs. We did not hear any sound.”

Curiously, the bank did not have a security guard. Bank manager Suresh Babu said that the issue could only be addressed by the head office.

Police Commissioner Jyothi Prakash Mirji said that there were 15 persons in the bank, including eight staff members at the time.

Fatal decision

Muralidhar died in the nearby NR Hospital of shock. He moved to the city around two years ago with his wife Parvathi and a teenaged son, Rahul, and was employed as the manager of the Chamundeshwari petrol station.

His mother Jayamma said: “He left home around lunchtime saying that he would deposit the cash and be back in about 10 minutes.” His home is just a few metres away from the bank.

The police said that the CCTV footage has given vital clues to crack the case.

For further investigation, five teams have been formed under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) S.N. Siddharamappa, the police added.

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