Chennai: The Railway Police Force (RPF) are investigating the heist which took place on the Salem-Chennai Egmore Express train in which nearly Rs 5.75 crore, belonging to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), was stolen. They suspect the handiwork of a few railway staff working at Erode behind the heist.
The parcel coaches, guarded by Armed Reserve (Salem) were transporting Rs 325 crore in 226 sealed wooden boxes. In a daring theft, unidentified persons struck at the coaches by drilling a 2 ftX1.5 ft hole on the roof of one coach.
Speaking to 'News Today', Railway ADGP Lakshmi Prasad said Indian Overseas Bank had requested for a carriage for transporting the cash and the train, which was at Erode yard, was nominated. After this, it was lying in the yard for a whole day.
The roof of the train was chiselled from the top for every two inches on three sides but was not pushed down or opened either. The Armed Reserve on duty did not notice anything amiss as a thin layer was yet to be chiselled.
One theory is that the Erode Railway staff could have connived with criminals and planned the theft.
The police believe in two possibility for the heist. One, it could have happened when the train halted which seems more plausible. The second rare probability is carrying out the heist on a moving train between Salem and Vridhachalam.
The perpetrators could have climbed on to the roof, pushed down the chiselled roof and made away with the cash. The guards did not suspect the roof was drilled. It can be seen only when sunlight falls through it, said a police source.
The overused, soiled and mutilated notes were being brought to the RBI office in the city. Sources said last night, the remaining cash was brought to the bank on Rajaji Salai.
DGP Ashok Kumar and ADGP J K Tripathy visited the train at Egmore.
Railway Police Superintendent of Police P Vijayakumar said the Railway Police were giving logistical assistance to the RPF team. He also said there was no standard operating procedure to specify in what containers the notes should be stacked.
It is not confirmed as to what instrument the men used to drill the hole, he said. The soiled notes, unlike the mutilated ones can be used for transactions.
The Salem AR DSP Nagaraj, who was escorting the consignment, was in a different coach and no formal action has been taken against him. The RPF are carrying out the investigations amid speculations that the case would be handed over to the CB-CID. The RPF do not have sufficient logistics to carry out inquiries.
The Salem-Chennai Egmore Express had 19 coaches and three parcel vans. It left Salem by 9 pm and arrived at Egmore by 3.57 am.
The train was at Erode yard for a day after IOB gave the request for a carriage. The police suspect the culprits planned the heist here.
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