“ Duddu kodu, duddu kodu ,” (give money) were the words that the armed assailant repeated to Jyothi Uday on Tuesday morning after cornering the 38-year-old bank manager in an ATM kiosk of Corporation Bank at LIC building near the BBMP head office.
In a statement to the police, Ms. Jyothi said the assailant spoke in Kannada and struck her twice on the head with a machete. Though he also brandished what appeared to be a pistol, police are unsure if it was a real one.
An officer of SJ Park police station said, “As the woman did not withdraw money, the man hit her with the machete. When she collapsed, he searched her bag. He took her cellphone and three ATM cards from her wallet, but did not touch the gold jewellery — a gold chain and bangles — worn by the victim.”
The police are investigating whether the assailant was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “We are considering this possibility as his actions were not clear,” an officer said.
Ms. Jyothi is undergoing treatment at BGS hospital. According to a doctor, “She suffered a skull fracture. A broken skull bone has entered her brain. We will be operating on her shortly to remove the bone. She will also need treatment on her nose and jaw.” Doctors said that Ms. Jyothi was drowsy but her condition was stable.
Her husband, Uday, was away on work at Bidadi when the attack took place, but returned to be by his wife’s side. He told police that Ms. Jyothi had left their house in Rajarajeshwarinagar around 6.30 a.m. for the morning shift. After watching the CCTV camera footage of the attack, Mr. Uday said the assailant is unknown to them, adding that the family did not have any enemy.
Police hope to question Ms. Jyothi again once she recovers from the shock.
Three hours later
Ms. Jyothi’s colleagues repeatedly tried to contact her when she did not report for duty at the usual time. A.N. Suresh, senior manager of Corporation Bank’s service branch on Mission Road where the victim works, said that Ms. Jyothi would usually come in around 7.45 a.m.
“She has been with the bank for more than 15 years. When she did not come to office till 8.15 a.m. on Tuesday, we tried her cell phone. But it was not reachable,” he said.
Mr. Suresh learnt of the attack on receiving a call from the police around 10.40 a.m. “Some students saw that the shutter of the ATM kiosk was not fully closed, which made them suspicious. They also heard someone moaning inside. On looking inside, they saw blood stains. They informed traffic police personnel nearby. They later returned to the kiosk and opened the shutter. They found Ms. Jyothi lying on the floor,” he said.
Due to the downed shutter, it was nearly three hours before the attack came to light despite the ATM being located in such a busy area.
The security personnel deployed at LIC building said that they had reported for duty around 10 a.m. They did not suspect anything amiss on seeing the downed shutter at the kiosk. They assumed that the ATM was shut, police said.
‘No guard for 8 months’
Meanwhile, a bank employee, on condition of anonymity, said that there has been no security guard at the ATM for at least the last eight months.