Garhwa (GHQ), Dhanbad Division, ECR: Forget arrests, railway police of Jharkhand are yet to file an FIR over 36 hours after the armed robbery on Bhopal-Howrah Express between Renukoot and Garhwa Road junction under Dhanbad Railway Division. The argument being given is that the incident occurred before the train chugged into Jharkhand and hence, police here cannot file an FIR.
More than 70 passengers, including 15 American tourists, travelling in three coaches were robbed of cash and valuables worth Rs 7 lakh between 2.30am and 3am on Thursday.
“You are talking about arrests. But the fact is that a formal FIR is yet to be registered in the case. This is because the robbery did not take place in Jharkhand. Primary inquiry suggested that the robbers boarded the train at Renukoot, which is in Uttar Pradesh, and took off before Jharkhand’s jurisdiction started. Thus, FIR has not been registered here,” deputy superintendent of Dhanbad railway division Atul Kumar Bakhla told when contacted on Friday evening.
DIG (Railway) T. Kandaswamy echoed Bakhla. “The FIR has not been registered in Jharkhand. It will be registered at Renukoot. We have contacted out counterparts in Renukoot and are forwarding the victims’ statements to them,” he said.
Sources at Garhwa Road station gave a different picture though. They claimed that the FIR could not be filed as passengers manhandled officer-in-charge of GRP police station.
“The passengers were very angry and manhandled officer-in-charge of Garhwa Road GRP Heeranand Singh. They also took the FIR from his hand and tore it away. At Barkakana station, GRP personnel took down statements of two passengers and sent it to Garhwa Road station, but the officer there refused to entertain the same, saying the robbery occurred outside their jurisdiction,” a source in the railways said.
The source added that GRP officers were trying to pass off the incident as a Naxalite activity.
“GRP officers quoted two passengers as saying that the robbers were young and were wearing uniforms. They are trying to prove that Naxalites were involved in the incident,” he said.
Bakhla, however, admitted that there was no police personnel on Bhopal-Howrah Express. “We couldn’t deploy a escort party because of manpower crunch. Moreover, it’s a weekly train that usually plies without police cover,” he said.