Dalim Mallik, arrested in connection with the train dacoity, outside the Bandel GRP office on Sunday morning. (Uttam Dutta)
A gang of seven youths, armed with pistols and knives, robbed passengers of an unreserved coach of the Howrah-Mokama Passenger between Pandua and Burdwan stations early on Sunday.
Police said the gang looted cash, mobile phones and jewellery worth over Rs 1 lakh between 12.50am and 1.20am. The Bihar-bound train had left Howrah station around 11pm.
The police said the gang had boarded the unreserved compartment at Pandua in Hooghly and got off a little before Burdwan, when the train slowed after the signal had turned red.
The passengers lodged a complaint with the Government Railway Police at Durgapur, around 70km from Burdwan. Following night-long raids, one of the alleged robbers was arrested in Gangpur, near Burdwan. The accused has been identified as Dalim Mallik.
An officer said Dalim had admitted to his role in the dacoity and revealed the identities of the other members of the gang. Three cell phones and Rs 10,800 were seized from him.
“We have identified the gang members and launched a search. They will soon be arrested. We are trying to recover the robbed items and cash,” said Milan Kanti Das, the superintendent of railway police, Bandel.
The police said some youths had barged into the unreserved compartment when the train reached Pandua, 60km from Calcutta, around 12.50am and picked a fight with some passengers over seats.
Once the train left the station, the youths took out guns and knives and ordered passengers to part with their money and valuables.
“The coach was packed with workers and small-time traders,” said a police source.
“Avijit Sen, a resident of Dubrajpur in Birbhum, has mentioned in a complaint that he was robbed of Rs 5,000. He was punched on his face when he protested. He has also mentioned that a woman was molested after she refused to part with her earrings,” said Das, the superintendent of railway police.
He admitted that there were no guards on the train because of a manpower crunch in the GRP. “There was no escort party on the train since it had left Howrah,” he said.
When the train stopped at Burdwan station around 1.30am, the passengers got off and narrated the incident to two RPF men sitting on the platform. The guards asked them to report the matter to the GRP office on another platform.
Some passengers started walking towards the footbridge on their way to the platform where the GRP office was located but rushed back as the train was about to leave.
They could lodge a complaint only after the train reached Durgapur station around 2.50am. The passengers demonstrated outside the office of the GRP at Durgapur and blocked the tracks for close to an hour.
The blockade was lifted after senior officers took down their complaint and forwarded it to the Bandel GRP.
Acting on the complaint, the GRP launched a search and picked up Dalim, 30, from Gangpur station where he was apparently waiting for a morning train home to Ichapur in Burdwan’s Memari.
Lorry hits tram
A lorry hit a tram at the crossing of Vivekananda Road and Bidhan Sarani around 5.20am on Sunday, injuring the tram driver seriously. Police said the driver, Shyam Narayan Pandey, 52, suffered head injuries and was taken to RG Kar Medical College and Hospital. He was later shifted to a private hospital. The lorry driver has been arrested.
A pedestrian in his mid-40s was killed after a Matador hit him from behind near the Ultadanga crossing around 11pm on Saturday. Police said Debasis Das, a resident of Gurudas Dutta Garden Lane in Ultadanga, was taken to RG Kar hospital, where he died on Sunday morning.