fifty years ago January 8, 1971 Archives

From the Archives (January 8, 1971): Bandits decamp with Rs. 18 lakhs from Bank in Bengal

An armed gang broke into the State Bank’s branch at Chittaranjan, about 45 kms. from here [Asanol], this afternoon [January 7] and decamped with Rs. 18,71,000 in what is stated to be the country’s biggest bank robbery so far. A guard of the Chittaranjan Locomotive Works was shot dead by the dacoits, and two other employees of the public sector undertaking who had taken the money to deposit in the bank were injured by bomb splinters, according to an official report. The dacoits also took away a double barrel gun from the bank’s guard before making good their escape.

The report said that as soon as the money was taken in and kept in the cash enclosure at about 1-20 p.m., five or six people crashed in and exploded more than 50 bombs. The glass panes at the counter were blown to pieces and the hall was filled with thick acrid smoke. One of the members of the gang ordered the bank employees not to move from their places and hang their heads down, while others entered the cash enclosure by jumping across the counter. As the C.L.W. guard sought to resist the dacoits, one of them took out a pistol and shot him dead. As they carried the three cash boxes, the dacoits exploded several more bombs, scaring away the bystanders. They got into a waiting car and fled away.

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