Train robbers strike near Katpadi

VELLORE, MAY 20. Train robbers struck again at a Kerala-bound train near Katpadi on Saturday night and snatched 11.5 sovereigns of jewels from three women passengers.

The robbery is the second within a span of three days, the first one occurring in a Thiruvananthapuram-bound train between Katpadi and Latteri on Thursday night.

Mrs. Thilagavathi, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Railway Police, told newspersons here today that a nine-member gang entered the Chennai-Kayankulam summer special train at about 11 p.m. on Saturday at the same spot where the earlier robbery took place.

They looted the valuables from the women passengers by dividing themselves into three groups, each comprising three men.

While all the groups entered the train, one group identified the women sitting near the windows to be robbed, while another stopped the train by climbing on top of the compartment through the portion which linked two compartments and tampering with a vacuum device.

Once the train stopped, the first group came out and snatched the chains from the `identified' passengers.

The third group provided `security' to the chain-snatchers to prevent other passengers or the local villagers from attacking them.

Those robbed were Ms. Dhanam (50), Ms. Lakshmi (30) both belonging to Chennai and Ms. Rajammal (49) of Chalakkunnur in Kottayam.

Mrs. Thilagavathi said this was the first time that robbers were using this modus operandi in Tamil Nadu, while it had been used several times in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The railway police picked up six persons aged between 35 and 40 years for interrogation in connection with the robbery.

She said instructions had been issued to the railway authorities to appeal to passengers not to sleep near the windows and to close the windows whenever the train stopped at unscheduled places.

Railway police, armed Railway Protection Force personnel and the local police would travel in plain clothes in all night trains.

Mr. C.K. Gandhirajan, DIG, railway police, and Mr. Abhay Kumar Singh, SP, railway police accompanied the IGP during the investigation of the train robberies.