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CIMA Gallary

Railway station turns den of goons

Bhubaneswar, July 26: The Bhubaneswar railway station has become a den of gamblers, who not only run this illegal racket there, but also make victims of gullible passengers. These gamblers at times attack people for money, which makes the station a dangerous place for passengers.

The government railway police (GRP) two days ago arrested four persons involved in a brawl that was the fallout of a gambling session among them on the station premises.

The railway protection force (RPF) officials said that in the last one month they had arrested members of two such gambling gangs around the station area.

The accused were later handed over to the GRP.

“Whenever we come across any person involved in illegal activities such as gambling in the station area, we conduct raids and arrest them from the spot. They are arrested for gambling and produced before the court,” said inspector in charge of GRP Bhubaneswar, Smrutiranjan Kar adding that the recently arrested accused have been lodged in Jharpada jail.

Although police officials said they had been conducting raids at regular intervals and intensive patrolling was done in the vicinity of the station, the local residents and passengers alleged that such illegal activities were on the rise.

Last month, Sushant Naik, a student who was returning from Bangalore, was robbed of his cash and laptop by gamblers near the parking lots beside the GRP police station.

“I was walking down the side road around 4am when a group of people gambling in the area came to me and snatched away my belongings at knifepoint. When I rushed towards the police station, the gates were closed. I had to walk home,” said the MBA student.

The local residents also allege that police inaction helps these goons continue their illegal activities in the station area. “The gamblers operate with impunity in the station area even on the platform though RPF and GRP people keep patrolling the station area. We do not think the police are working properly or they might be involved in these rackets,” said Upamanyu Nayak, a resident of station bazaar area.

The RPF police station is located on platform-IV while the GRP police station is located on platform-I of Bhubaneswar railway station.

The RPF personnel said they had been conducting raids in the station area and whenever they get information about such activities they arrest the accused.

“As we cannot take action against them, we hand them over to GRP officials, who produce them before the court. We make such arrests every month,” said Varun Behera, inspector in charge of RPF police station Bhubaneswar.

The officials said it was mostly rickshaw pullers, auto-rickshaw drivers, and small time vendors and nearby slum dwellers indulge in such illegal activities.

“They do not work in a racket. Whenever they have some money they just sit anywhere in the station and start gambling. When such instances come to our notice or people complain we arrest these people. But there is no big racket working in our area,” said GRP inspector Kar.

In another development, the officials in the capital police station arrested three persons involved in gambling at Powerhouse Square in the city. Police also seized cash worth Rs 8,600 from these people. They were identified as Rabi Sahu, Ramesh Mohanty and Subash Mohanty. They were produced before the court in the evening.