Eight members of a gang of inter-state train robbers led by a losing candidate in last year’s Bihar assembly polls were arrested from Begusarai, police said on Saturday.
One of the eight arrested on Friday is also a small-time politician who was involved in land grab incidents in Begusarai before the assembly elections, police added.
However, the kingpin identified as Shyam Poddar is still absconding along with seven other members of the gang, said Manoj Kumar, the Begusarai superintendent of police.
Poddar had contested the assembly polls from Begusarai, about 100 km east of Patna, as a candidate of the Bahujan Mukti Party, the political wing of an association representing employees from backward and minority communities.
Data released by the Association for Democratic Reforms , a non-profit think-tank working on electoral reforms, shows that 1,038 out of 3,450 candidates who had contested for the 243-seat assembly in Bihar last year had declared criminal charges including serious criminal cases related to murder, kidnapping and crime against women.
Among the 243 elected MLAs, 143 in the new Bihar assembly face criminal charges, the ADR data also shows.
Poddar had finished ninth in a field of 12 candidates in Begusarai which was won by Congress’ Amita Bhushan.
Police made the breakthrough on Friday following a tip-off from Government Railway Police (GRP) in Bhopal.
The police official added that jewellery worth over Rs 50 lakh were recovered from the arrested robbers, who hail from Begusarai town, Lohianagar, Bhagwanpur and Rosera.
They are suspected to be involved in more than 125 loot and dacoity cases in running trains across eight states, the SP said.
One of the arrested, Bhagwan, is the brother of Poddar and runs a jewellery shop in Begusarai. He had purchased 1 kg stolen gold and diamonds from the gang and paid only Rs 16 lakh.
The police official claimed that the DGP of Madhya Pradesh has announced reward for 12 police officers of Begusarai for arresting the gang members.