Chennai

Train heist: special teams following new leads

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CB-CID has interrogated over 2,000 persons in this connection

Over a year after the daring heist on-board the Salem-Chennai Express train, the CB-CID has uncovered that the compartment had originally departed from Kochi and not Salem as it was believed.

A senior police official of CB-CID said special teams had been constituted and were working hard to crack the case following the new lead. They also believe that the drilling of the hole on the roof did not happen, as it was originally thought, between Salem and Vriddhachalam, a distance of 138 km that is not electrified. But it could have happened from the original destination — Kochi. From Kochi, the compartment came to Coimbatore, Erode and Salem before reaching Chennai. Hence, the special teams have been constituted to investigate the case as per section-wise. “There is a possibility that the perpetrators drilled the hole at Kochi itself. We are probing all angles”, said sources.

Dismissing the theory of using a gas cutter to drill the hole, the official said experts from IIT-Madras had ruled out that possibility. There were no marks of using such a gas cutter on the ceiling, he added.

He also added that there had been no such case in the past with similar modus operandi — taking out the cash through a hole on the roof. But in Kerala and a few other places, they broke open emergency exit window or toilet window to steal the cash carried on the train.

Last year, on August 8, nearly seven hours after the Salem-Chennai Express reached its final destination — Chennai Egmore, RBI and Railway staff detected the theft on the train.

They reported to the Railway Protection Force that ₹5.78 crore in cash, which was part of a consignment of soiled currency being transported by the Reserve Bank of India for destruction was stolen by drilling a hole on the roof of the coach that contained 226 wooden boxes of soiled but usable currency totalling ₹325 crore. It was a shocker that the theft had been committed even though the coach was guarded by a team of armed police personnel, led by an Assistant Commandant.

Missing links

Since then, several theories have been doing the rounds. However, the CB-CID has found several missing links in the case with the CCTV footage or fingerprint sweep and examination of witnesses yielding no clues.

The senior official said, “We are working very hard to crack the case. The apprehension that we have given up probing the case is totally wrong. Previous teams have slogged a lot and now new teams have been constituted. We hope that the mystery will be solved soon.”

So far the CB-CID interrogated over 2,000 persons who were suspected to have knowledge on the theft, such as railway staff, police personnel, caterers and employees of the private parcel company.

Last week , the CB-CID announced a cash reward to any informant providing concrete clues.

“We are getting so many calls. Some are motivated calls and others are useful to some extent. We are verifying all calls,” the officials said.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 4:42:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/train-heist-special-teams-following-new-leads/article19694856.ece

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