The manager of the Indian Overseas Bank branch in Keelkattalai, which saw a daring robbery on Monday, was warned barely four days ago to install CCTV and engage security guards, sources in the Chennai Police said.

Soon after the robbery in the Bank of Baroda (branch on the Rajiv Gandhi Salai on January 23, senior police officers held meetings with representatives of various banks to sensitise them to the urgent need to install CCTVs and engage trained private security personnel.

“The officials in the IOB Branch in Keelkattalai were also alerted less than a week ago by the Madipakkam police…they claimed to have written to their higher authorities seeking sanction,” an investigator told The Hindu.

Striking similarities

Explaining how the modus operandi of the robbers was the same as in the BOB branch case, he said the suspects looked like north Indians and conversed in English. “One of them spoke in Telugu. Soon after entering the bank, he ordered the employees and customers to move into a room by saying “lopala po…lopala po” (go inside, go inside). Another man, while forcing the manager to open the currency chest, spoke in fluent English.”

Since the looted money was from the teller's cash counter, there was no record of serial numbers on the currency notes. As in the earlier robbery case, the robbers locked up all the bank employees and customers in one room and took away their mobile phones. The cashiers who had gone out for lunch returned and opened the room, police sources said.

While forensic experts were looking for fingerprints and other evidence at the scene of crime, special teams formed to investigate the case mounted surveillance at railway stations and major bus stands.

Since both banks that were looted within a month had no CCTV or effective security system, police suspect that the gang might have conducted a dry run before striking.

“We have a suspicion that they might have visited other banks to check if it was feasible to plan a robbery there. Steps have been taken to gather the video footage recorded on the CCTV network of certain banks located in vulnerable areas,” a police official said.

Confirming that police had alerted the IOB branch in Keelkattalai to install CCTV as a security measure just four days ago, Commissioner of Police J.K. Tripathy said investigators were looking into all angles and efforts were on to peruse video footage records in some bank branches and ATMs.

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