| The recovered steel cash box near Bakhtiarpur in Patna on Friday. Telegraph picture |
A group of armed robbers attacked the guard of a passenger train and escaped with a cash box containing Rs 10 lakh near Mudhari halt, around 50km east of Patna, this morning. Police later recovered the box and are verifying if the cash is intact.
The daylight robbery on a running train in Nalanda district has cast a cloud on the safety of passengers, who are facing the brunt of a sudden spurt in incidents of crime on wheels. Last week, passengers of the Janshatabdi Express were robbed of their belongings by armed miscreants near Paharpur in Gaya district.
Reports reaching the Danapur railway division office said that about half-a-dozen robbers barged into the compartment of the railway guard when the train stopped at Mudhari halt around 7am. They held guard Jitendra Kumar captive at gunpoint and took away the cash box.
The robbers, aged about 25 years, also snatched the walkie-talkie from the guard. They alighted from the train after disconnecting the hosepipe at a deserted place near Harnaut halt. “The robbers fired at me when I tried to resist them,” guard Jitendra told officials of Harnaut police station.
Station house officer Awadesh Kumar Singh said the policemen chased the robbers who were fleeing with the steel cash box. “The miscreants fired at the policemen. But the policemen forced the robbers to abandon the box,” he told The Telegraph over phone.
Railway traffic inspector S.K. Praveen said the money was being transported to Danapur railway division office from Rajgir. “It’s a routine affair. The money collected through sale of railway tickets at Rajgir and Biharsharif railway stations is sent to the divisional office at Danapur by train,” he said.
He clarified that there was no provision for police escort on trains during the day. Moreover, it was a passenger train and the practice of carrying cash box has been going on for long. “We didn’t face any problem earlier. This is the first such incident,” Praveen added.
Passenger Rajesh Kumar, who was coming to Patna from Biharsharif, told the police that he heard the sound of firing soon after the train left Mudhari halt. At least six shots were fired by the miscreants. “They thrashed the guard before they jumped out from the train when it was approaching Harnaut,” he said.
Superintendent of railway police (Patna) Upendra Kumar Sinha said an FIR has been lodged with the Rajgir government railway police station (GRP) against unidentified persons. “The police have got a clue in the case. Those involved in the crime would be arrested soon,” he said.
Sinha said the looted steel box was recovered from a water-filled plot of land beside the railway tracks on the outskirts of Rupaspur village in Nalanda district. “The box was traced with the help of the local residents. The lock of the box has been found intact,” he said and added that it was not clear whether the cash had been taken out or not.
The box would be opened in the presence of senior railway officers, Sinha said.
The SP said the robbers attempted to break open the lock but in vain. Finding no way out, they threw the box in the water-filled plot of land. “We have already informed senior railway officials about the recovery of the box,” he said.