The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Man robbed in taxi by co-passengers

Commuters availing of the shuttle taxis from the Maidan area, be wary of your co-passenger. Miscreants are robbing passengers these days in a running taxi, even if the road is crowded.

The new style of snatching claimed its latest victim — a manager of Wipro — on Wednesday night. He was robbed and thrown off the vehicle.

The case has sparked panic in share-taxi passengers. The manager lodged a written complaint with Maidan police station, mentioning the number of the taxi. It turned out to be a false number-plate.

Kanti Mukherjee, the executive, took a taxi from the Exide House crossing of AJC Bose Road and JL Nehru Road on Wednesday evening. He was on his way to his sister’s house in Serampore for bhai phonta. After work, he decided to take a shuttle taxi to Howrah station.

“I saw two men in the rear seat. As I opened the door, one of them got off and asked me to sit in the middle, as he said he would get off near Esplanade. I saw nothing unusual in the request,” Mukherjee told police.

As the taxi started moving, the two co-passengers grabbed Mukherjee’s arms and warned him not to raise an alarm. One of them brandished a firearm and ordered him to hand over all his belongings.

“They wrenched out my wallet and took the Rs 5,000 I had in it. I was forced to give them my gold ornaments and watch, too,” Mukherjee said.

The taxi was driven from the Exide crossing to Victoria Memorial, down JL Nehru Road and Queensway.

“I saw policemen in front of Birla Planetarium. The taxi was moving slowly because of peak-hour traffic. Then it stopped at the traffic signal at the Queensway intersection. But I could not scream for help as the firearm was aimed at my lower abdomen,” Mukherjee said in his complaint.

The taxi crossed the main gate of Victoria Memorial. The goons told the driver to stop the vehicle. “I was thrown out of the car and the taxi sped off towards Red Road. I managed to read the number of the taxi. Then, I ran towards the Victoria Memorial gate, where there were some policemen deployed. I narrated the incident to them,” Mukherjee told the police.

Asish Sengupta, officer-in-charge of Maidan police station, said the taxi had a false number plate. “We traced a taxi with the number Mukherjee gave us, but he could not identify the driver,” Sengupta said.

The officer-in-charge admitted that there had been a sudden development of such incidents where miscreants, including women, pose as co-passengers and rob share-taxi commuters. It is a new method. We have some leads on the robbers and a breakthrough is expected soon,” Sengupta said.

He suggested that passengers keep their wits about them when sharing a taxi. “If you find anything suspicious, call the police,” he advised.

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