Software employee now cools his heels behind bars

A 35-year-old man’s bumbling attempt to rob the C.M.H. Road branch of a bank, saying he had an explosive on him, was foiled by the presence of mind of a security guard who closed the main gate Friday afternoon. Swift action by the Indiranagar police also helped nab the man, who was identified as Pranjal Bhattacharjee.

Eyewitnesses said the man turned up at HDFC Bank around 3.30 p.m. with his face covered in bandage and walked up to a counter saying he wanted to open an account. The staff told him that there was a process involved and that his face shouldn’t be covered.

He then announced that he had a bomb strapped to his jacket. This immediately triggered panic, with the bank manager, staff and the few customers running helter-skelter. Mr. Bhattacharjee then strolled to the cash counter, pulled out a bag and stuffed the available cash — some Rs.13 lakh — in it.

“Since it was afternoon there were not many customers at the bank. The manager and some staff got scared when he announced he had a bomb and they all ran outside. A security guard closed the main door from the outside,” an eyewitness said.

Mr. Bhattacharjee attempted to break open the door but in vain.

By now, some alert staff had already called the police and two sub-inspectors attached to the Indiranagar police station — Giriraj and Kempe Gowda — overpowered Mr. Bhattacharjee. A closer examination revealed that there was no bomb, only a hardboard box with batteries and wires.

The bomb squad and the dog squad also confirmed it was a hoax.

During interrogation, Mr. Bhattacharjee, a software firm employee, said he was neck deep in debt and hatched the robbery plot.

A senior police official said the Arunachal Pradesh native was living in Bangalore with his friends.

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