Bank robberies increased in J&K, Haryana after demonetization: RBI data

The demonetization of high-value currency notes saw a rise in the number of bank robberies towards the end of 2016, but all of the increase came from just three states — Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar and Haryana.

Overall, cases of theft, robbery and loot of on bank properties increased by 11% in the last three months of 2016 compared to the previous three months, jumping to 271 from 245 in the preceding quarter.

However, excluding attacks of Bandhan Bank — which was targeted most often by robbers — the total cases went up by only 7% to 186 from 174 in the July to September period.

The demonetization of currency notes seemed to have hit militants based in Jammu & Kashmir, as the number of such cases rose sharply in that state. While only 4 such cases were reported in the state in the third quarter of the year, the number rose to 15 in the final quarter.

The total cash looted in the state increased from Rs 19.55 lakh in July-September to 1.48 cr in October-December, according to Reserve Bank data.

Haryana was the other state that saw a rise in similar incidents. Such cases rose to 30 from 13 between the two quarters.

While bank robbers were able to make off with just 18 lakhs in July-September in Haryana, they looted Rs 2.49 cr in the last three months of the year.

On a pan-India level, robbers looted Rs 11.68 cr in July-September and Rs 12.85 cr in October-December of 2016.

The data also revealed that Bandhan Bank, the micro-finance company that became a bank in 2015, was targeted far more often by robbers compared to other banks.

The bank, which was operating about 700-800 branches during the period, reported a total of about 156 incidents of robberies, theft, dacoity and burglary in the six months from July 2016 to December 2016.

These incidents include those related to its branches, ATMs and cash vans, and constituted 30.2% of the all such incidents reported by all the banks in India to the RBI during the period. In comparison, the bank accounts for only about 0.7% of all bank branches in the country.

The highest number of security incidents were witnessed in Bihar and West Bengal.

At 52 incidents over the six months, Bihar accounted for about one-third of the total number reported by the bank, followed by West Bengal with 44 incidents.

Assam, with 19 cases, and Uttar Pradesh with 15 followed.

The number of such cases increased from 71 in the three months from July to September to 85 in the last three months of 2016.

Bank robberies, theft etc reported to RBI in 2016 for Bandhan Bank
  Q3 Q4
Assam 12 7
Bihar 19 33
Chattisgarh 0 1
Haryana 1 2
Uttar Pradesh 7 8
Jharkhand 4 7
MP 0 1
Maharashtra 0 1
Orissa 2 5
Rajasthan 0 1
Uttarakhand 1 0
West Bengal 25 19
Total for Bandhan 71 85
Total for all banks 245 271