B. Madhu Gopal

VISAKHAPATNAM: The daylight robbery in the State Bank of India (SBI) branch at Visalakshinagar here on Tuesday speaks volumes of the inadequate security measures at bank branches and their vulnerability to robberies.

The branch is located on the ground floor of an apartment complex beside the National Highway (NH-5).

Though it was close to the highway there was no possibility for motorists to know what was happening inside the branch as the glass doors had black film to prevent the entry of excessive sunlight into the air-conditioned premises.

Recent addition

The bank branch, that was opened about eight months ago, neither had a security guard nor was it equipped with a CCTV monitoring system.

“About half-a-dozen bank heists had occurred in the city during the last 10 years and most of them were daylight robberies.

The Visalakshinagar branch authorities say that it was not a very huge transaction branch. The total cash in the safe was only Rs.15 lakhs,” Police Commissioner N. Sambasiva Rao told The Hindu.

He said that a review was made on the security aspect at banks in the city. It may be recalled that armed robbers looted the Andhra Bank branch on the Beach Road and the Federal Bank branch near Ambedkar Circle on the Old Jail Road.

Subsequent investigations revealed that a former Naval employee was also involved in the Federal Bank robbery.

“Only chest branches invariably have armed guards,” said an SBI official who preferred anonymity.