Bangalore: Police Thursday announced a Rs.1 lakh reward for information about the untraceable assailant who brutally attacked a woman in an unguarded ATM kiosk here Tuesday.
"We will reward Rs.1 lakh to any person sharing information on the assailant absconding since Tuesday after assaulting bank manager Jyothi Uday in her bank's ATM kiosk in the city centre," Bangalore police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar told reporters here.
The informer's identity will be protected to ensure his/her safety.
Unconfirmed reports earlier in the day said the assailant had sold the victim's mobile handset to a cell re-charge shop at Hindupur in Ananthapur district of Andhra Pradesh, about 100 km north of Bangalore.
"We learnt from our counterparts in the neighbouring state that the mobile re-charge shop owner bought the handset from a person whose identity he did not know. The buyer is being interrogated to ascertain the whereabouts of the attacker," Auradkar said.
One of the eight special teams, set up to investigate the horrifying incident, is on the lookout for another person who may have remained outside the state-run Corporation Bank ATM while the assailant was inside the kiosk attacking the victim.
"We are trying to find out if the unknown assailant had an accomplice standing outside the kiosk to ensure nobody entered it to draw cash from the ATM," a police official told IANS.
"As the machine was out of order for over a week, customers stopped entering it though it was repaired but no guard was present in the early hours (around 7 a.m.) on that day," he added.
At a private hospital, 44-year-old Jyothi is recovering from the severe injuries she suffered on her head, face and nose when the assailant attacked her with a machete.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah condemned the attack on Jyothi and advised banks to ensure safety of their customers, failing which action would be taken.
"Safety and security of customers is the responsibility of banks, be they state-run or private, as ATM kiosks are an extension of a banking service for customers' convenience," Siddaramahiah told reports at Vidhaha Soudha (secretariat) ahead of the cabinet meet.
Police registered a case under section 397 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for attempting to cause death or grievous injury while committing robbery or dacoity.
The closed circuit television (CCTV) camera footage, obtained from the bank, shows the assailant entering the kiosk when Jyothi was in front of the ATM to draw cash and threatening her after downing the shutter from inside.
"As seen in the footage, the assailant took out a country-made pistol and a machete from a shoulder bag and asked Jyothi to draw cash from the ATM. When she tried to escape, he pushed her in a corner and hit her on the head and face with the a machete. After checking her bag, he left the kiosk pulling down shutter from outside," a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) D.C. Rajappa told IANS.
The bank's ATM kiosk is located on the ground floor of the LIC building diagonally opposite the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) head office in the Corporation Circle, and a furlong from the Ulsoor Gate police station.
The state government made posting security guards at all ATM kiosks across the city mandatory for banks, with two cameras outside and inside a burglary alarm inside the kiosk.
"All banks have to implement these guidelines in the next 24 hours," Auradkar said.