Passengers of a Giridih-bound bus were held at gunpoint and looted of their cash, ornaments and other valuables by a gang of six on Friday night. The dacoity took place on a 50-km stretch between Rajbandh and Asansol. Three passengers were stabbed for trying to resist.
While none of the gang members could be traced till Saturday evening, the injured were admitted to the Asansol sub-divisional hospital.
The bus, containing about 50 passengers, had set off from Calcutta on Friday night. According to the passengers, six men boarded the bus at Babughat, in Calcutta. As soon as the bus reached Rajbandh, in the Kanksa police station area, around midnight, they whipped out country-made guns and choppers.
When passengers Ghanshyam Ram, Asghar Mia and Chhotu Mahato tried to resist, they were attacked with choppers. Ghanshyam was critically injured, with deep gashes on his hands and back.
To pre-empt further violence, other passengers surrendered to the attackers. The dacoits made the driver to pull up on the roadside and forced him and his three helpers out. One of the gang members took charge of the wheel.
“The dacoits then set about collecting cash and valuables from the passengers. They snatched Rs 11,000 from the injured Ghanshyam,” said Pradip Gupta, one of the passengers.
Even while the looting spree was on, the dacoits stopped the bus at the Andal bypass and paid the toll tax. Soon after, they stopped the bus near Chandrachur temple near Asansol and disappeared in the darkness.
Once the dacoits decamped with their booty, Gupta drove the bus to the Chowringhee crossing where he found a few policemen dozing at a checkpost. “The policemen, instead of helping the injured, directed me to report to the Asansol North police station,” Gupta said. It was at that police station that the passengers lodged a complaint.
The passengers alleged that there was no night patrol along the 50-km stretch on Grand Trunk Road. Inspector-general of police, western range, Jit Ram Bhakat, expressed surprise at the lack of vigil. “I will definitely inquire why no mobile patrol was present on the stretch,” Bhakat said.
The driver and the three helpers of the luxury bus are still missing.