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Taxi hijack bid ends behind bars

The plan was simple — hijack a taxi and sell it across the Bengal-Bihar border. But for Class XII student Gajinder Sau and his three friends, the ride proved to have one hurdle too many. Two of the foursome are now languishing behind bars after a failed hijack bid on Friday night.

The four youths had hijacked a taxi from Ultadanga. But when they tried to take control of the car, the driver came in the way. They got rid of the driver, shooting him from point-blank range. But the patrolling policemen halted their ride soon after. Sau and Chandan Paswan were arrested while the two others fled.

Police said the driver has been admitted to SSKM Hospital in a critical condition and would undergo an operation.

The four youths had arrived in Calcutta a few days ago from Sitarampur in Bihar and put up with relatives in the Baguiati-Ultadanga area. On Friday evening, they hired a taxi from Ultadanga and proceeded to Kalighat. They offered puja at the temple and asked the driver to head for Howrah via Dankuni. On reaching Garfa, in the Jagachha police station area, they asked the driver to stop the car.

“When I stopped the car, they ordered me to get off at gun-point,” Dipendra Rao, the taxi driver, told the police.

“When Rao resisted, Paswan shot him from point-blank range, kicked him out of the car, and sped off,” said an official.

Residents of the area immediately informed the police. “We saw a man being thrown out of the taxi and ran to the spot. He was writhing in pain and blood was spurting out from his wound. He managed to tell us what had happened,” said a witness.

Based on information provided by residents, the local police co-ordinated a move with their patrolling personnel.

“As soon as we received information from the control room, we headed for Unsani, the direction they had set out for, approximately a kilometre-and-a-half from Garfa. On seeing us approach, the miscreants tried to accelerate. In doing so, the driver lost control of the car and hit a roadside tree,” said a patrolling policeman. Two of the miscreants got out of the car and started running. The accident had drawn a small crowd to the spot. The two managed to flee in the darkness and amid the confusion. The other two were rounded up.

“As soon as the local people came to know that the arrested duo had shot a taxi driver and were trying to run away with the car, the two were beaten up in presence of the police personnel. But the officials soon took control of the situation and dispersed the crowd. The miscreants have not received any serious injury,” said superintendent of police, Howrah, Zulfiquar Hasan.

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