The Railway Protection Force (RPF) busted a gang of thieves while they were fleeing with railway scrap from Mumbai Central, and arrested 12 persons including railway employees and the alleged receiver of the material. The gang had made a duplicate set of keys of the Carriage and Foreman Office (CFO) and entered inside with a truck during change of shifts of the personnel.
RPF headed by Gorakhnath Mal arrested Ram Kalap Saroj, 47, a railway employee, Shankar Ghadge, 27, cleaning staff supervisor, Mohammad Khan, a scrap dealer and Lalji Yadav, 37, scrap receiver and a driver by profession. While others arrested were men hired for loading the scrap. Officials said that Saroj hatched the plan along with Ghadge, and later stuck a deal with Khan. The truck was parked at the spot last week.
“Nobody suspected them as they were staffers and known faces. Around 8pm on Saturday, the accused entered the CFO premise and started loading the truck when the shift of RPF personnel was changing. Those logging out for the day assumed that the truck and the loaders had come in the presence of officials in the next shift,” said Gorakhynath Mal, inspector, Mumbai Central RPF.
However, a tip-off from one of the informers around 10pm resulted in a raid by senior RPF officials at the CFO premises. Scrutiny of the documents produced by the truck driver revealed that the truck was not hired by the railways. The people were questioned and it came to the fore that they were stealing scrap.
The material seized from truck (MH43-BB-856) included three buffer casings, five buffer plungers, nine big springs, seven small springs and 18 medium springs, in all weight 1,790 kg and worth several lakhs.
“Yadav revealed that he was hired for Rs1,200 and the material was to be dumped at Khan’s scrap shop in Worli. Investigation to find involvement of any other railway employee is underway,” said Mal.
The RPF informed the railways and they verified the ownership of the said truck and asked the RPF to file a case against the accused. The RPF will now issue an internal letter to all the warehouses, sheds and other facilities to check if a similar incident has occurred on their premises or not. A departmental inquiry will also be conducted by the railways.
A case under the Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act has been registered against all the accused. While the loaders were released on cash surety, others have been remanded in RPF custody.