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CIMA Gallary

Help! He’s thief & we’re cops

- Out to nab scrap-stealer, rail force in civvies mistaken for abductors

Tamluk, Nov. 26: The Railway Protection Force today apparently tried in Bengal what Ajay Devgn and his team pulled off on screen in Bihar a few years ago — and watched crestfallen as the plot leapt off the script and the quarry ran away.

Four RPF personnel, who had gone to a Tamluk court in plainclothes to catch a youth for stealing railway equipment, reportedly found themselves in the custody of onlookers who mistook them for kidnappers.

Sources said the team — an inspector and three constables — had been waiting since morning at the Tamluk court compound for Ripon Roy, 35, who has several cases against him and is now on bail. The group, the sources said, had information that Ripon would be coming to the court in connection with a robbery case.

Lawyers said the team started dragging away Ripon towards their car as soon as they spotted him.

“The man started shouting for help. People in the court compound thought he was being kidnapped. They surrounded the four men in shirts and trousers. Although the team claimed they were RPF personnel who had come to arrest Ripon, they failed to show their identity cards. The crowd refused to believe them and demanded that Ripon be released. The people then started beating them up,” said Ashok Dinda, a lawyer at Tamluk court.

Ripon took advantage of the melee and ran away — unlike the accused in Gangaajal who was bundled into a jeep by Devgn, playing a police officer who positions himself in a court complex as a vendor.

The officer in charge of RPF station in Tamluk, K.K. Sashmal, denied that any RPF personnel had gone to the court compound to arrest Ripon. “We have been looking for him for a long time but it is not true that an RPF team had gone to the Tamluk court today.”

The officer in charge of Tamluk police station, Arun Khan, said: “We received a phone call from the court area. The caller told us someone was being kidnapped from there. We asked the policemen at the court to rush. But they did not find anything.”

Lawyers in the court compound said they had called the police.

“The policemen arrived from a picket in the court compound. One of the cops recognised the RPF inspector. Then they were released,” a police officer said on condition of anonymity.

A senior RPF officer in Kharagpur said: “RPF personnel must wear uniform when on duty. But while going to arrest a suspect, if they think that the accused might escape seeing them in uniform, they can conduct the raid in civvies. But they have to always carry their identity card. In this case, the RPF personnel should have informed the local police station because they were operating outside railway area.”

RPF sources said the force was looking for Ripon for the past few months on the charges of stealing overhead wires and iron scraps from railway yard in Haldia.