A spurt in robberies in Muzaffarpur has sent shivers down the spine of the trading community.
In a span of around a fortnight, there have been six such cases involving businessmen.
Members of the North Bihar Chamber of Commerce and Industry have called an emergency meeting on Monday in wake of the deteriorating law and order condition in the region. The chamber chairperson, Kailashnath Bhartiya, said the traders were feeling unsafe to conduct business. He also expressed displeasure over the failure of police to curb crime.
On February 26, a delegation of the chamber met senior superintendent of police (SSP) Rajesh Kumar to apprise him of the attacks on traders.
Raju Kedia, who was allegedly robbed of Rs 12 lakh on March 2, said the Town police station personnel chided him for carrying the huge amount of money on his own without any security. The cops also allegedly admonished the authorities of State Bank of India, Red Cross branch for allegedly using defunct closed-circuit television cameras.
However, SSP Kumar said the cops have identified members of a biker gang involved in robbing traders.
He said: “The police have launched a hunt for the gang. Mobile vans are being deployed in sensitive areas. Cops, equipped with firearms, have been asked to keep watch. All the police stations are stepping up security. Additional forces will be deployed in Kalyani, Chhoti Kalyani, Jawaharlal Road, Motijheel, Purani Bazaar, Company Bagh, Sharafa Mandi, Andigola, Saraiyaganj, Pankaj Market, Tilak Maidan Road, Suttapatti and Islampur.”
Tirhut deputy inspector-general of police Shushil Khopde said he had taken a note of the rise in crime. “The SSP has been directed to constitute a task force to nab the robbers,” said Khopde.
However, assurances given by the SSP have proved hollow, chamber chairperson Bhartiya said.
According to sources, Gopal Sharaf, a young trader, was robbed of Rs 17 lakh at gunpoint in October 2010 but he was forced to lodge an FIR mentioning the amount as Rs 10 lakh under police pressure.
Vikas Agarwal, a trader of Jawaharlal Road, said criminals had robbed him of Rs 2 lakh at gunpoint at Kedarnath Road under Town police station in 2009. “The police had swung into action and recovered Rs 40,000 and arrested the criminals in a raid carried out in Samastipur district. But the recovered amount is yet to be returned to me,” he said.
Alleging laxity on the part of the police, Dampu Chachan — who had been robbed of around Rs 10 lakh in a span of eight days last month — said that the police started torturing him when he lodged an FIR in a robbery case recently. He alleged that the police, instead of nabbing the criminals, started interrogating him on the details of the crime.