Gujarat: Policeman arrested for assaulting bank employee

(Eds: Adds details) Surat/New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) A police constable was suspended and arrested for allegedly thrashing a bank employee in Gujarat's Surat district, after Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman sought prompt action in the matter.

Bank officials said police constable Ghanshyam Shyora entered the Canara Bank's Saroli branch on Monday in plain clothes and asked female employee Santoshi Kumari to print his passbook. When told the printer wasn't working, he abused her and began slapping and pushing her. The video of the attack went viral on social media.

'My office is being informed that the Commissioner of Police visited @canarabanks Saroli branch and assured staff of full cooperation; the accused police constable is placed under suspension,' Sitharaman tweeted on Wednesday.

The minister said her office had spoken to the Surat Commissioner of Police R B Brahmbhatt who assured that the accused constable would be suspended immediately.

Sitharaman said nothing should threaten the safety and dignity of bank employees.

'Will be closely following this matter. Wish to assure that the safety of all members of staff in banks is of importance for us. Amid challenges, banks are extending all services to our people. Nothing should threaten their safety and dignity,' the minister tweeted.

Sitharaman said she also spoke to Surat district Collector Dhaval Patel on the incident and was assured of timely action.

Brahmbhatt said the constable has been suspended and placed under arrest.

He also visited the bank's branch to get information about what happened on Monday.

A case was registered at Puna police station in Surat on Tuesday under Indian Penal Code Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of peace), a police official said.

In the CCTV footage released by the bank, the police constable is seen entering the restricted area of cash counter and pushing Santoshi Kumari on the floor after grabbing her by the neck. Shyora is also seen manhandling another employee who was apparently trying to reason with him.

In another video, shot by a bank employee, the police constable is seen misbehaving and threatening some bank staffers after entering the restricted area.

In a video message, Shyora claimed the bank employees were non-cooperative and abused him when he went to the branch to help his uncle update his passbook.

'Despite repeated requests by my uncle, the branch employees were not updating his passbook and making him visit the bank for three-four days for such a simple work.

'When I went to the bank, the employees claimed office hours are over. Though I showed my identity card, they used derogatory words and asked me to get out. They then made a video of the incident to malign me. I want the truth to come out,' Shyora said.

Santoshi Kumari said neither Shyora nor his uncle were ready to understand the problem.

'As our passbook printer was not working, we even gave a copy of the statement to his uncle when he first came to our branch recently. However, he kept on insisting to get his passbook printed. The constable also used abusive language over phone before coming to the branch,' she told reporters.

She claimed that Shyora pushed her so hard that she developed severe back pain. 'After abusing me on phone, he came to the branch and attacked me and damaged my phone, as I was recording his act,' she said. PTI COR JD PJT PD ANS GK VT VT VT