Nagpur/Betul: A long-distance air-conditioned train was hijacked and looted between Itarsi and Nagpur railway sections on Tuesday night. The robbers immobilised the Hazrat Nizamuddin—Chennai Central Garib Rath Express by chopping off its pressure pipe for nearly one hour around 3 am between Barbatpur and Ghodadongri railway stations in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh.
Approximately eight robbers attacked the G-8 and G-12 2-AC coaches and looted passengers of their jewellery and cash. Out of the affected travellers, two women passengers, Mamta Virendra and Sanchita Gupta, lodged a complaint with GRP that they were robbed of Rs 93,000 and Rs 83,000, respectively.
The eight perpetrators, out of whom two were reportedly hiding in the train, entered the coaches after the train was forced to stop in the middle of a jungle area. The region is part of the Satpura Hill ranges and is densely forested. They started robbing women passengers by snatching their purses and handbags. In order to threaten the passengers, they threw stones on the windowpanes and injured one passenger.
The GRP of Betul, which launched an inquiry into the incident, was informed by the station master of Kalaakhar railway station that he saw two men sitting between the connecting space of two coaches in the night when he gave the green signal for the train when it passed from his station. After the robbery, the train was halted for nearly one hour. When the train guard and other people tried to catch the robbers, they were pelted with stones by the perpetrators who fled.
Later, the Betul police, assisted by police force from Nagpur, launched a massive manhunt with hundreds of policemen pressed in. The villages around Barbatpur and hotels in the area were extensively searched as the police suspected the presence of the robbers in the area.
According to Superintendent of Police of Betul, Saket Pandey, the police have started an operation to nab the robbers. He said that he is hopeful of catching them soon.