Armed Guard Netram

An armed guard is the first point of contact for any visitor to a bank. He has to keep a close watch on visitors while guiding them. But he has to deal with sternly if he comes across any suspicious activity. For him, every minute of his duty is the moment of truth.

That’s why it’s all the more necessary for a bank to have loyal and vigilant guards to protect its interests, but what will happen, if a guard himself starts behaving deviantly?

I’m going to share story of such an armed guard, whose name was Netram. He had worked with me in a branch in Madhya Pradesh, where I was posted as Branch Manager. He was initially happy that he could get home posting, but after a few months, some domestic issues started cropping up. He was living beyond his means for which he resorted to market borrowings. He was also a chronic drinker. Once I asked him, but he evaded the question.

I used to go for a walk along with my officers after taking lunch during recess hours. One day Netram fired his gun into the air, but nobody in the branch told me when I returned, fearing punitive action against him. But my branch was located in the market area. Some customers came to me and enquired about the firing.

I couldn’t believe, but it was a serious matter for the bank as well as for public. I called Netram, but he flatly denied having fired his gun. I inspected the gun. It was intact. There was no smell of firing. I called for the gun register and tallied the number of cartridges with the actual possession. Gun register was also in order. But the fact was that the gun was fired. It was a mystery I had to solve.

I went to some of my colleagues in the evening to know the fact. Two of them agreed on the condition of anonymity that Netram had actually fired his gun in the frustration due to family disputes, but all of them decided to hide the fact from me in order to save him. They also disclosed that he had cleaned the gun thoroughly so that there wouldn’t be a trace of smoke.

But the issue of number of cartridges remained unresolved. How could he procure additional bullets? Buying the same was not so easy. But I was more concerned, if he had some more bullets in his possession.

I decided to confront him. I called him in my cabin after business hours and made him sit comfortably, before probing him. I assured him that the action will not be harsh, if he accepted his mistake and narrated the actual fact.

He then admitted that he had seven bullets with him. This revealed a lapse on the part of the then Security Officer of the Zonal Office, who used to call all the armed guards with their guns and cartridges annually for three-day training which was also used to inspect guns and cartridges apart from replacing the old cartridges with new ones.

Old cartridges used to be fired in a firing zone as the part of training, but in this case, he fired only three and kept the remaining seven with him, though the number of old cartridges was made “nil” in the gun register by the then Security Officer. It was a serious lapse on his part.

I asked Netram why he had done it. His simple reply was that he wanted to show the bullets to his wife and children. Probably he was not aware of its consequences. I talked to the Zonal Manager and also apprised the Security Officer.

It was finally decided to attach Netram at the Zonal Office, where further investigation was carried out and a minor penalty was inflicted on him apart from transferring him to another branch.

The counts of cartridges of all those guards who had attended training along with Netram were also verified physically, but thankfully no discrepancy was found. But the chances of keeping cartridges by some guards on the lines of Netram were still there.


–Kaushal Kishore

15 Comments

  1. This story is a real life film like Kaushal Ji. So much so no one can actually realise the responsibilies of a bank manager can extend to this kind of problem solving amongst many others. A well narrated story, but I was wondering what made you remember it today ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Narayan ji for reading and leaving a cute comment. As regards your question, to be very frank, I never prepare my post or its subject in advance. Whatever comes to my mind by way of memory or news in the morning, I start writing. At times dreams also play a role. But when it comes to real life incident, it hardly takes one hour to write the post for publication.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, Kaushal, especially in times of global inflation, when some people could be driven to try and rob banks. That could be the reason why you wrote it.
    As always, Kaushal, your managerial skills come to the fore!

    Joanna

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joanna for your kind words and thoughtful response. Your observation regarding inflation is correct. Drought or flood also cause havoc and unemployment that gives rise to financial crimes. But so far as banks are concerned, we are always at risk. That’s why armed guards are so important for a bank.

      Like

  3. I haven’t ever thought the role of a bank manager extends to this extent. Indeed, it’s a very serious security issue.

    My dad was in the army and he used to tell that they’re supposed to return the cartridge of every fired pellet during the training. Even if it got missed in the sands of the desert, the punishment will be too severe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually whatever happens in the branch, its manager is answerable for that. I’m glad you shared your dad’s experience. Army is the most disciplined organisation, I know. Thank you for reading and sharing your beautiful reflections.

      Liked by 1 person

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