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Station RPF constable robs trader of Rs 3.3 lakh

No crime is beyond the cops: plunder of a helpless woman, robbing a businessman.

A constable of Railway Protection Force (RPF) and two civilians were arrested on charges of robbing Rs 3.3 lakh from a businessman on Wednesday. Immediately on receiving a complaint from the victim, officials of Government Railway Police (GRP) fanned out on the station and managed to round up the three culprits.

During the course of sustained interrogation, the trio confessed to the crime. Police recovered Rs 2.25 lakh from their possession.

Last January, another policeman was arrested on charges of snatching Rs 1,000 from Asura Bibi, a middle-aged woman, as soon as she had got off a train from Mumbai.

The policeman had threatened the woman with arrest under the Foreigners’ Act.

Around 8 pm on Tuesday, RPF constable S.K. Tiwari was on duty at Howrah station. Victim Tapas Das Bairagya arrived with Rs 3.5 lakh that he had brought with him to buy motor spares. He was returning to Burdwan because the shop was shut.

Bairagya is related to the CPM zonal secretary of Burdwan, police disclosed.

As soon as Bairagya stepped on to the platform, Tiwari intercepted him. The two others, Shamu Mallik and Saroj Naskar, then appeared on the scene.

Tiwari asked Bairagya to open his leather bag. He told the businessman he wanted to search the bag for security reasons. “Bairagya was upset, but obliged,” said a GRP official.

On seeing the wad of notes, Tiwari snatched the bag and herded Bairagya to the RPF booth on platform no. 9. The two others, too, followed them, surrounding the businessman inside the booth.

After asking some irrelevant questions, they told Bairagya that he would have to go to the RPF ‘head office’ at Tikiapara.

Accordingly, Tiwari, Shamu and Saroj, with the businessman in tow, boarded a Midnapore-bound train. During the five-minute journey from Howrah to Tikiapara, Bairagya kept silent.

As soon as the train touched the platform, Tiwari warned Bairagya not to raise an alarm. “He then took out Rs 3.3 lakh from the bag and also snatched a cellphone from the businessman. The trio then returned to Howrah,” said the official.

Bairagya himself took a Howrah-bound train and reached the GRP office, where he lodged his complaint.

“As soon as we received his complaint, our men fanned out on the station,” said the GRP official.

“We took Bairagya with us to identify the culprits. The businessman helped us track down Tiwari and the two others. He pointed out the three, who were still roaming in the station, hours after committing the crime,” said the GRP official.

Preliminary investigation revealed it was a planned crime. “A section of RPF personnel is in cahoots with people around the station and keep either duping passengers or snatching valuables and money from them,” said an official.

“In this case, it seems that Shamu and Saroj had followed Bairagya from outside the station and tipped off constable Tiwari. We are investigating the nexus to get the details of such illegal activities and our effort is on to recover the rest of the money,” the official added.

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