One rupee coin used to loot Rs 20 lakh from train passengers

coinA one rupee coin did the trick for criminals who looted valuables worth lakh of rupees of 20 passengers on board the New Delhi-Patna Rajdhani Express last Sunday.

Four persons suspected to have robbed the passengers between Gahmar and Bhadaura railway stations of Mughalsarai division, under the East Central Railway (ECR), were arrested by a joint team of Buxar (Bihar) and Mughalsarai (Uttar Pradesh) GRP on Thursday. Two stolen cell phones, wallets , ATM cards and ornaments were recovered from them.

Police said the arrested criminals, identified as Fateh Khan,20, the kingpin of the gang, Raja ,19, Om Prakash Ram,19 , and Chandan Kumar , 20 ,were from Bihar’s Buxar district and had adopted similar modus operandi to rob passengers of other trains too on the Patna-Mughalsarai section. The police, however, did not give the number of trains which they had stopped using Re 1 coin.

Patna rail SP Jitendra Mishra on Thursday said the arrested persons told their interrogators they had tampered with the railway signalling system by inserting a Re 1 coin between the joint of the tracks. The coin caused the signal post to flash red, forcing the locomotive driver to stop, he said.

Ranjit Kumar Singh, public relations officer of ECR’s Danapur division, said the criminals caused a short-circuit on the tracks by removing the rubber insulation at the joints and inserting a coin, causing the signal to turn red.

Singh said an electrical circuit was fixed on railway tracks to detect the presence of a train or vehicles on the track. “For setting up the electric circuit, portions of rails are isolated by providing insulation at the rail joints. One end of the rail is connected to a battery through resistances and the other end is connected to a relay, which in turn is connected to the signal. When the train engine passes the signal on the track, the two rails are short-circuited through wheel of the train and the relay does not get any feed from the battery. It gets de-energised, breaking the circuit connected with the signal and thereby turning the signal to red. The two rails at the joint can be short-circuited by removing the insulation and inserting a coin, a needle or any metal,” he said. The signal could be turned green only by changing the panel at the railway cabin, he added.

Jitendra Mishra, his counterpart at Allahabad Kabindra Pratap Singh and RPF commandant Chandra Mohan Mishra have already reached Mughalsarai to interrogate the criminals.

“A member of the gang, entered the train compartment through the small space around vestibule and opened the doors of the bogies. Thereafter, the other members of the gang barged into the compartment and lay their hands on the belongings of the passengers travelling in A4, B7 and B8 coaches of the train,” Jitendra Mishra added.

“The criminals had sold the looted ornaments to a Buxar goldsmith Kishan Kumar alias Soni for Rs 20,000. Soni later handed over the valuables to his associate Sanjay Desmukh for smelting. Police have arrested them and recovered a precious stone studded jewellery which had been sent to forensic lab,” said the Patna ral SP.

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