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Cabbies take to snatching

A section of taxi drivers is allegedly snatching the belongings of pedestrians late at night, police have learnt.

Senior officers are in talks with taxi unions to curb the crime, requesting the members to run a “thorough check” on the drivers.

The cops came to know about the drivers-cum-snatchers following the arrest of Sanjay Maity, a Bhowanipore resident. He was picked up on a complaint by a woman who said the driver of a parked taxi had snatched her gold chain while she was passing by late at night.

The officers suspect that most of the rogue drivers are drug addicts and that they commit crimes to raise money for their “shots”.

“Some them frequent pockets like Goborjhur, in Behala, and areas around the Sealdah rail yard for the shots. They take to snatching when they run out of cash,” said a senior officer.

“We are asking the taxi unions to keep a tab on the drivers. This will help curb the crime,” the officer added. “There are around 25,000 taxis in the city and nearly double the number of drivers working in shifts. Another 5,000 taxis come to the city from its adjoining areas. It’s difficult to keep an eye on so many drivers without the unions’ help.”

The unions have welcomed the move but are not convinced that the drivers are at fault.

“We check the antecedents of a driver before he is allowed to hit the road,” said Balwinder Singh, the joint secretary of the Bengal Taxi Association, which has around 14,000 members. “We have asked our members to be alert and run periodic checks on the drivers.”

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