Two youths, believed to be past masters in hijacking taxis, were arrested early on Monday by officers of Muchipara police station. A taxi they had stolen from Howrah’s Golabari area was impounded.
Muchipara police station officer-in-charge (OC) Naseem Ali said Chandan Gupta and Bijoy Kumar Gupta had hired a taxi late on Sunday from Pilkhana. “They took it to the red-light area in Sovabazar, where they spent an hour. From there, they proceeded to Sealdah,” said Ali.
The duo travelled aimlessly in the taxi for more than two hours from 10.30 pm. By this time, they had struck up a camaraderie with taxi driver Ram Narayan Yadav. “When the taxi arrived near Surendranath College, at Sealdah, Chandan got off to buy a sachet of gutkha and asked driver Yadav to accompany him to the shop,” said Ali. Yadav obliged readily.
His error was that he left the taxi keys in the ignition. While Chandan and Yadav were walking towards a pan shop, Bijoy started the car. “He drove up close to them, with the front door to the left open. According to their plan, Chandan would push aside the driver and board the taxi,” explained OC Ali.
But Chandan failed to hop on to the taxi and Bijoy sped away. Driver Yadav raised an alarm, which was heard by policemen patrolling the area. “Our men chased Chandan, who was fleeing down Mahatma Gandhi Road, and pinned him down. On interrogation, he disclosed Bijoy’s whereabouts,” added Ali.
A raid was conducted in Golabari to round up Bijoy. During interrogation, he broke down and revealed the spot where he had hidden the stolen taxi.
Police are grilling the arrested youths to check out their antecedents. “We think they are not new to the crime. Our counterparts in Howrah have been asked to ferret out more details about the duo,” said an officer of Muchipara police station.
A few days ago, four youths had hired a taxi from Ultadanga to take them to Jagacha, in Howrah. There, they shot the driver and threw him out of the vehicle. On hearing gunshots, residents of the area alerted the police. A chase followed, and the car rammed into a tree. Two of the gangsters were rounded up.
“Criminals from Howrah are sneaking into the city. Taxi hijacks are on the rise. The stolen cars are taken to the border with Bihar, to be sold off,” disclosed a senior officer of the Lalbazar police headquarters.