Patna, June 4: Robbers shot dead a former DIG on a Mumbai-bound train this afternoon, minutes after it pulled out of Rajendranagar station, barely 3 km from here.
Anil Kumar Singh was on his way to Mumbai to meet his son. His wife, daughter-in-law and grandchild were also with him.
As soon as the train left Rajendranagar station, the gang of six, all in their early twenties, barged into the AC-II compartment of the 2142 Rajendranagar-Lokmanya Tilak Terminal Express and began robbing the passengers.
The 65-year-old retired IPS officer put up a fight when they tried to snatch a gold chain from a woman. “He caught hold of one of the criminals but one of his accomplices shot at him from close range,” railway superintendent of police G.P. Sinha said.
Despite being wounded in his chest, Singh did not let go of the robber, police said. As the train slowed down close to Patna Junction, his accomplices got off and fled across a wooden bridge.
“Singh was profusely bleeding but he handed over the criminal, identified as Ranjit, to the police. He was rushed to Patna Medical College Hospital from the station but died on the way,” a police official said.
During interrogation, Ranjit, a resident of Ara, revealed that his friends would be having lunch at a restaurant in Karbighaiya near the station. A police team went to the spot and arrested them. All their weapons and their booty, including Singh’s mobile phone, were seized.
There was no police escort on the train when the robbers stormed the train. East Central Railway’s chief public relations officer A.C. Chandra said Railway Police Force personnel were supposed to board at Patna station.
A resident of Hanuman Nagar in Patna, Singh had retired as DIG five years ago. One of his sons lives abroad and the other works in Mumbai. Singh, a law graduate, used to practise at Patna High Court after retirement.
The incident has jolted the state administration, which had been claiming that crimes on trains have declined in the past few months.
“The retired police officer was murdered not only in broad daylight but close to the capital. This clearly shows that we have not been able to instil any kind of fear in criminals despite tall claims,” an IPS officer said.
Passengers at Patna station, too, echoed the officer. “Is this the new Bihar we were promised' We are scared to travel on trains. Whatever the government may say, it is hard to spot any police escort even on long-distance trains,” said Ramashankar Singh as he waited for one that would take him to Delhi.
Another passenger questioned the logic of RPF personnel boarding trains starting from Rajendranagar at Patna station. “The three-km stretch has a notorious record. But officials are concerned only about their convenience,” he said.