No witness to nail train gangs

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  • Published 12.07.10

Durgapur, July 11: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) today said it was difficult to convict those arrested on the charge of drugging and robbing passengers on long-distance trains because the victims were reluctant to come forward and identify them.

At least 14 cases of train robbery have been reported to railway police in the Howrah and Asansol divisions of Eastern Railway between April 1 and July 10.

The railway police arrested a gang of nine, all residents of Jharkhand’s Jamtara, in May and June.

Four of the nine were arrested from Asansol’s Sitarampur station in May. Sedatives and Rs 12,000 in cash were seized from them.

The other five were arrested in June from Sitarampur and Jamtara. The RPF said the gang used Antivan tablets, a sedative, to drug passengers before robbing them. Sources said the gang used to ask their targets for water and then stealthily spike it with sedatives.

“But when we contacted the people who were robbed in trains between Jamtara and Asansol to identify those arrested, no one came forward. We feel helpless because our cases against the accused become weak,” said S.P. Singh, a senior security commandant of the RPF .

The RPF said the gangs operated in Mughalsarai, Gomo, Gaya, Dhanbad, Sitarampur, Asansol, Durgapur and Burdwan.

On June 20 and July 2, 10 passengers on two Howrah-bound Kalka Mails were given drug-laced mango drinks and robbed. On both occasions, the robbers had boarded the train from Mughalsarai.