MUMBAI, Jan. 27. — A locker in the State Bank of India’s Turner Road branch in Bandra (West) was found to contain a sten gun, 12 hand grenades and about 300 bullets when it was broken open by the establishment’s officials this afternoon.
The locker belonged to Mr Arun Ronaldo Vij, who had hired it in 1984. It had not been accessed in the past 20 years or more. The account holder was repeatedly asked by the SBI to contact its officials at the said branch. The locker-holder’s address was subsequently found to be fictitious.
The passbook, however, was said to mention a Chandigarh address as well. Crime branch officers of Mumbai police under DCP Mr Dhananjay Kamlakar were at the bank branch till late into the evening. Police suspect a Khalistan connection.
The locker might have been hired in aid of a terrorist network. Today’s revelation shocked bankers in Mumbai. The commercial capital is known to have scores of dubiously taken lockers, rarely used to hide unaccounted-for wealth.
Sources in the industry said an absconding IPS officer, Mr Rahul Rai Sur, of the Mumbai police, who fled the country some years ago to escape an inquiry into his conduct as head of the Anti-Narcotic Cell, had hired a locker in a public sector bank in its Borivali (West) branch.
The locker has rarely been accessed. The bank is hesitant about breaking it open since it belongs to an IPS officer. Mr Sur faces allegations of owning wealth disproportionate to his and his wife’s known sources of income. —SNS