At least Rs. 1.15 crore was stolen from a bank in Odisha’s Dhenkanal on the weekend, all in banned Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes.

As the Odisha Gramya Bank reopened on Monday after a two-day holiday, officials found the door of a strong room broken into and a box of cash opened. The police suspect an inside job and say the robbers were possibly wearing masks.

Around 8.85 crores were in the bank – which is close to a police station – and the cash was in four iron boxes in the old notes that were banned by the government on November 8.

“We strongly suspect the involvement of some insiders behind the crime. We are surprised to find nearly Rs. 7 crore cash intact in the strong room. All the cash were stashed in huge boxes in the chest,” senior police officer Basant Kumar Panigrahi said.

The bank was to send the cash to its main office in Bhubaneswar, around 75 km away, on Saturday.

For security reasons, such branches are not allowed to store too much money and if they do, they have to inform the police for security. The police allege they were never informed.

Branch Manager Naba Kishore Sahu says he had informed his main office in Bhubaneswar about the cash but their counting machine was not working, so he decided to send it across on Monday.

“I along with other staff left the bank on Saturday evening at 6.30 pm after keeping the money and other necessary documents properly locked,” Mr Sahu said.

Money received by the main bank from various branches is counted and sent to the Reserve Bank of India.

The same bank was robbed of three lakh rupees three years ago by masked robbers. No one was arrested.