In a major breakthrough, the Vijayawada Railway Police have arrested an interstate gang of five members, who have been allegedly stealing gold jewellery and ornaments of passengers travelling in AC coaches.
According to KV Mohan Rao, SP Railways, the arrests followed the Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force’s (RPF) joint operation in the early hours of Monday at Vijayawada railway station.
Addressing the media along with Sr Divisional Security Commissioner of the RPF, SR Gandhi, SP Railways Mohan Rao said, "A team comprising GRP -RPF sleuths has apprehended the gang of five members on platform number 10 after their suspicious movements."
Police officials said that they have seized 2 kgs of gold ornaments worth Rs 60 lakh from the gang.
The "notorious and dangerous" gang members, including mastermind Rajendra Kumar Yadav (42) were arrested, even as they tried to escape after seeing uniformed cops. While four of the accused belong to Haryana, a gang member named Sunil Kumar hails from New Delhi.
The gang has allegedly stolen valuable gold ornaments from passengers in different places such as Vijayawada, Rajamundry, Chirala, Gudivada, Ongole and Kakinada. Officials say the gang is also suspected to have committed offences in Mumbai, Surat and in at least seven other states. As many as 12 cases were earlier filed against the accused. They were out on bail after they were arrested for a property case in Vishakhapatnam, say police.
The modus operandi
According to officials, the gang reserves tickets in AC coaches with slightly changed names and board from different locations. The gang then keeps a vigil on the luggage of passengers after a recce.
Mohan Rao said, "While passengers are in deep sleep, they will commit the offence even before the person wakes up. After snatching the bag, they unlock it using sharp blades and master keys.”
Once the theft job is complete, the task of distributing the loot will take place after they alight at different locations. Officials say they converted the gold into money in Haryana.
The SP Railways has requested passengers to take note of any suspicious movement and not get trapped. He further added, "As of now t no assaults were reported. But they were ready to assault the passengers with sharp objects, if required."
Sr Divisional Security Commissioner RPF at Vijayawada said that security sensitisation drives for staff and passengers are being taken at regular intervals. Despite Vijayawada railway station being one of the biggest stations in South India lacks "integrated security" measures such as "Door Frame Metal Detectors". SR Gandhi told TNM, "Proposals have been sent to higher authorities. The decision has to be taken by Railway Board."