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Teenagers ferry arms, ammo

Ranchi, June 15: What LTTE has been doing for years in Jaffna, local criminal gangs have started it here: rope in teenagers to ferry arms and ammo.

About a fortnight back, the Ranchi division of Railway Protection Force (RPF) was taken aback as two teenagers were waiting at Ranchi station with arms and ammunition in their bags.

When RPF jawans wanted to examine their luggage, 18-year-old Basu Choudhury and her male counterpart Masi Pasi (19), after they found the teenagers’ movements suspicious, the duo tried to flee from platform number 1 of the railway station.

The jawans overpowered them and recovered three new country-made revolvers, two sharp knives and substantial amount of cartridges from the bags.

Both were forwarded to judicial custody.

The revelations that Basu and Pasi made during the interrogation startled the police. They are part of a criminal gang active in Purulia district across the Bengal border. Both of them frequent to Ranchi and other places to buy arms from suppliers active in Jharkhand.

The senior safety commissioner of the Ranchi division of South Eastern Railway, Ravinder Verma, described the arrests “alarming”. “Never in the history of this division have teenagers been caught with firearms,” he said.

Top RPF officers here have issued directives to the jawans to be on strict vigil following the arrests.

“The case shows that there is also a need to keep an eye on the movement of teenagers at trains and stations,” Verma added.

A few days back, said government railway police (GRP) sources, a team of Purulia police had visited Ranchi and quizzed the teenagers.

The teenagers had procured the arms from Doranda area. They waited for Tutu Nayak — a criminal wanted in several criminal cases — at a location in Doranda. Nayak arrived with the consignment and handed it to the duo after which they left for Ranchi station. “The duo are tough nuts to crack. So far they have not revealed the name of the gang they are associated. They also claimed that they did not give any money to Nayak since the transaction had already been done,” said Ranchi GRP officer-in-charge Kapildeo Poddar.

He added that the girl confessed that many a time she was used to loot vehicles on national highways.

“Initially, she would stand alone and waive at passing vehicles to stop for help. Once the vehicles stop, the gang would loot it at gunpoint,” Poddar said.

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