I had asked the bank to step up security: 75-year-old bank robbery foiler

January 6th, 2009 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) An aware citizen who does not step back to help a person in need, Maharaj Krishna Kapoor, the brave 75-year-old who foiled a bank heist in south Delhi Monday, said he had written to the bank to step up security just 10 days ago.“This is a very good bank, but in terms of security it is very lax. Unlike other banks it doesn’t even have security guards, let alone CCTV cameras. When I asked the authorities, they said that they used to have guards about five-six years back. In fact, I had written to them just 10 days back asking them to step up the security,” Kapoor told IANS.

On Monday afternoon, Kapoor was standing in a queue in the Central Bank branch in Kalkaji, when four armed assailants attempted to rob the bank. One among them went inside the cabin of the bank manager and putting his pistol on his head, asked the customers and cashier to hand over all the cash.

“I was waiting to update my passbook when I suddenly heard all this commotion and saw that the culprit was holding a pistol on the manager’s head in the nearby cabin. Without thinking, I went in saying ‘what are you doing’ and after some grappling, dragged him out holding him by his helmet,” Kapoor said.

The next few minutes was right out of a thriller movie.

The culprit put the gun on Kapoor’s chest asking him to let him go and, after he refused, he managed to escape after firing a shot in the air.

“There were about 500 people standing around the scene, watching all the ‘tamasha’ (drama). Thankfully, somebody called the police. In the meanwhile, the collapsible gate of the bank was closed and we asked people not to pull out their cars so as to block the culprits’ moves,” he said.

Two of the assailants returned to the scene later and opened fire at the police. While three were arrested, the fourth assailant, Kiran Pal, was nabbed by the police Tuesday.

This is however not the first time that Kapoor, a retired professor of zoology at Deshbandhu College that is right opposite the bank, had stepped up fearlessly to help, even at the risk of getting harmed himself.

“It’s been almost 14 years that I have retired but I still remember the day when a helpless boy was being beaten up by a group of 30-40 students in college during the (Delhi) university elections. Stunned, I simply went and stood in front of the boy and despite threatenings and getting a few beatings myself.

“I never got to know who that boy was, but I am just glad that I could help. Similarly during a fiasco in college when our college principal was being beaten up, I lunged forward to save him,” Kapoor said haltingly.

“Don’t ask me what makes me do these things…when such situations arise, I don’t think. I just act,” he added.

The college authorities remember each of these incidents and can’t help but beam with pride at Kapoor’s latest feat.

“We are so proud of him. Even after his retirement, he keeps visiting us and is active in social work. He has an eye operation Jan 8, after that we will organize a felicitation programme in the college to honour him,” a college official told IANS.

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