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9 drugged, robbed on two trains from Puri

Kharagpur, Sept. 28: Nine passengers on two trains from Puri were drugged and robbed last night, the twin incidents suggesting the menace was spreading beyond the Mughalsarai-Howrah route where such gangs have mostly struck in recent months.

Seven passengers were found unconscious on the Patna-bound Baidyanathdham Express while two were taken out in a similar condition from the Neelachal Express going to Delhi at Kharagpur this morning, GRP officer Ashis Roy said.

The two trains had arrived at the Bengal station within a few hours of each other, and some of the victims told the police after regaining consciousness that the suspected robbers had got in at Cuttack. This suggests a single gang may have split into groups to target the two trains.

The victims were offered drug-laced biscuits, and spiked tea and mango drinks — the concoction most used by such gangs on the Mughalsarai section.

Patna’s Sashi Kumar, 28, who works as a labourer in Cuttack, said two co-passengers befriended him and three others. “We ate some biscuits they offered us. Soon, I lost consciousness. My bag with Rs 8,000 in it is missing,” Sashi said from his hospital bed in Kharagpur.

Prasanta Santui from Howrah’s Bagnan, who was on the same train, fell to a mango drink. “I drank it because my co-passenger was also having it. I lost consciousness. My bag containing Rs 5,000 is gone,” said the 25-year-old who was to get off at Kharagpur and board another train for Bagnan.

Parthsarathi Pain, who was to get off the Neelachal Express at Bankura’s Khatra, passed out after having tea. Still too groggy to speak coherently, the ordeal of the 24-year-old steel plant supervisor was narrated by another officer. “He lost money that he was taking home for Puja but could not say how much.”

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