Taking a page out of a crime thriller, a debt-ridden Axis Bank Branch Manager allegedly committed an unsuccessful heist on an ICICI Bank branch, stabbed a woman deputy branch head to death, before attempting to flee before being caught by locals, police said here on Friday.
The incident happened on Thursday around 8 p.m., after the close of banking hours at the ICICI Bank’s Virar East Branch, when most staffers had left for the day, barring two women officers.
“The prime accused Anil Dubey — the Naigaon Axis Bank Branch Manager, who is a former employee and ex-Manager of the ICICI Bank, has been arrested. There is no other person involved as of now,” Virar Police Station Senior Police Inspector Suresh Warade told IANS.
At the dark hour, Dubey drove down to the ICICI Bank branch, entered inside, whipped out a sharp weapon and threatened Deputy Manager Yogita Nishant Choudhary and her cashier colleague Shraddha Devrukhkar.
He ordered them to hand over all the cash and jewellery which he dumped into a bag and attempted to flee the branch premises.
Unwilling to give up without a fight, the two women started screaming for help and attempted to pin down Dubey who retaliated by attacking them both with the knife several times before breaking free to run out.
By then, a few people from neighbouring shops had gathered who managed to grab hold of Dubey, took the booty-filled bag and kept it in the ATM cabin and summoned the police.
As they entered the branch, they witnessed the horrifying scene with Choudhary and Devrukhkar lying in pools of blood with multiple stab injuries.
Vartak, 36, who suffered gashes in the throat, shoulder and other parts of her body, succumbed to her injuries later.
Devrukhkar, 32, who was hit in the neck and shoulder, is undergoing treatment at a local hospital and further probe is on in the sensational case, said Warade.
According to Warade, the accused Dubey had ostensibly run up huge debts of over Rs 1-crore and may have resorted to the shocking heist to clear off his dues, though details are not available.
In a guarded reply, the Axis Bank Spokesperson told IANS: “As a responsible institution, Axis Bank has zero tolerance towards unscrupulous elements and is committed to fully cooperate with the relevant authorities in resolving this issue. We have taken strict Disciplinary action immediately.”
Though ICICI Bank declined to comment on the issue, banking expert and Maharashtra State Bank Employees’ Federation General Secretary Devidas Tuljapurkar termed it as “an unfortunate and unprecedented incident”.
“The question that arises is whether the Axis Bank had taken the mandatory statement of assets & liabilities of the accused person before he was given a job, especially since he came from a competitive bank. The absence of the security guard outside ICICI Bank points to a larger conspiracy which must be probed thoroughly,” Tuljapurkar told IANS.
Industry sources reveal that a banking professional with 15 years’ experience, Dubey had worked in several private banks, including with ICICI Bank for 15 months, but had piled up massive debts, indulged in some high-finance property purchases, allegedly through some siphoned money and other irregularities.
Though police kept mum, the accused had reportedly called up before going to the desolate branch where only the two women officers were busy tallying and winding up the month-end accounts data.
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