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Express loot racket busted

Calcutta, March 2: A joint team of the railway police from Andhra Pradesh and the CID raided a house in Budge Budge last night and arrested Arfan Khan, a key member of the gang that drugged and robbed passengers in long-distance trains.

A huge quantity of stolen ornaments was recovered from the house, said CID special superintendent Manoj Malaviya.

The raid was conducted jointly by Secunderabad railway police inspector Maheswar and CID deputy superintendent Tanmay Roy Choudhury.

A suave 25-year-old man, Raju, and his girlfriend Sahida were the gang’s masterminds, Roy Choudhury said. They were arrested in Secunderabad during a raid on Friday.

The police said the gang operated on long-distance trains in sections of the South-Eastern Railway and was suspected to be involved in more than two dozen robberies over the past six months. The CID said there were six cases against them in Calcutta and about 15 in Andhra Pradesh.

Explaining the gang’s modus operandi, Malaviya said Raju and Sahida would board a train posing as husband and wife.

“They would strike a rapport with fellow passengers. At first glance, they would pretend to be a perfectly-matched couple madly in love with each other,” said Roy Choudhury. The CID officers said they mostly targeted passengers in the first- or second-class two-tier compartments.

“It was easy to strike a conversation with them and exchange food,” said an officer from the Andhra team. “The pleasantries over, Raju and Sahida would offer dry food to their new friends. The passengers would fall asleep after consuming the food and they would loot the valuables.”

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