BANGALORE: In a breakthrough, Bangalore City police on Thursday took one person from Andhra Pradesh’s Hindupur into custody for interrogation in connection with Tuesday’s brutal attack on a woman inside an ATM on JC Road here.
A man had attacked Jyothi Udaya (44), a bank manager, with a machete after she refused to withdraw money for him. He then had fled with her mobile.
Tracking signals from Jyothi’s cellphone on Wednesday night, the technical cell of the Central Crime Branch managed to zero in on the Hindupur (Anantapur district) resident in whose hands the instrument had landed. The mobile was tracked using the IMEI number of Jyothi’s mobile handset, collected from her family. The phone, a Nokia 2700, has been recovered and the man brought to Bangalore for questioning.
The man, Abusar alias Mazdoor, who deals in used phones, reportedly told interrogators a person came to his Marvel Computers and Mobile Shop in Hindupur around 8 pm on Wednesday and offered to sell a mobile phone for Rs 2,000. A deal was struck for Rs 500.
Police suspect the person who sold the phone to Mazdoor is Jyothi’s assailant. He is believed to be holed up in the town or in nearby Bellary or in areas along the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border.
“The person was in Hindupur from around 4pm, trying to sell the handset. He approached me around 8 pm and went away after the deal,” police sources quoted Mazdoor as saying.
A police officer said: “We’re yet to establish it was Jyothi’s assailant who sold Mazdoor the phone. Most handsets stolen from Bangalore find their way to Andhra Pradesh or Tamil Nadu.”
Another investigating officer told TOI “as of now” Mazdoor is not directly involved with the assailant.
“With the Rs 500 received by selling Jyothi’s mobile, the assailant must be somewhere near the border,” an officer said.
Cops admit to delay, but throw up their hands
Police officers admitted the delay in arresting Jyothi’s assailant is embarrassing, but said the blame must not be put on them squarely. “Jyothi was found in a pool of blood three hours after the attack; by then, her assailant might’ve fled the city,” said an officer. “Her phone remained switched off for a long time, making it difficult to be tracked.” Another officer said the shortage of officers trained in mobile phone tracking was adding to the delay. “It appears the ATM attacker wasn’t carrying a cellphone,” he said. “If he was carrying one, we could’ve traced his number.”
Rs 1 lakh reward for clues
Police have announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone providing actionable leads in the ATM attack case. Call 080-22942583, 080-22942222, 94808-01101, 94808-01106 to tip off police.
Banks get 4pm deadline
Bangalore City police commissioner Raghavendra H Auradkar has ordered all banks to immediately provide 24×7 security and install surveillance cameras at ATM kiosks to capture both inside and outside views. “If the banks fail to implement these measures by 4pm on Sunday, they’ll be restrained from operating these ATMs,” Auradkar said.