NEW DELHI: The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has deployed decoy passengers on Rajdhani trains to sniff out a gang posing as travellers but suspected to be behind a series of thefts on board the premium trains.
The RPF believes the thefts on the August Kranti Rajdhani on August 16 -- and on two Rajdhani trains earlier -- were carried out by thieves posing as passengers.
The RPF has now deployed its forces as passengers to keep an eye on suspects, a senior rail official said.
"They (the decoys) are moving around in trains, listening to conversations and acting as passengers to get information," the official said.
The decoys are travelling on the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani and the August Kranti Rajdhani. Armed RPF escorts have also been deployed there.
The Railways discovered that the thefts on August Kranti, as well as those on two Rajdhani trains earlier in August and in July, took place between the Ratlam and Kota stations.
The RPF suspects that the thieves who stole valuables and cash worth Rs 10-15 lakh from sleeping passengers on board August Kranti may have followed a pattern.
The digital footprints of passengers travelling on August Kranti were being scanned to see if any of them were on the Mumbai-Delhi Rajdhani on August 9, when three passengers complained of thefts under similar circumstances.
"We are checking if groups of passengers travelled on both the trains and also scanning them on the basis of gender, age and other parameters," a senior rail official said.
Twenty-five passengers on the Mumbai-Delhi August Kranti Rajdhani Express said cash and valuables worth Rs 10-15 lakh were stolen from their compartments early on August 16.
Many complained of being drugged and accused the railway pantry staff as well other employees of being involved.
A similar incident took place in July when passengers aboard the Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani complained of thefts.
"We are also checking if bookings were made with the same user IDs online and if they were given any fare concessions.
We are coordinating with the police in Mumbai, Ratlam and Kota and talking to staff members," the official said.
Officials said sleuths were studying CCTV footage from the entire route.
The union ministry has de-rostered seven coach
attendants, one from each coach where a theft took place, and seven members of the housekeeping staff on the August Kranti.
According to official figures, there has been a 33 per cent increase in thefts of passengers' belongings in one year.
Between January and June this year, there were 12,573 such cases, compared to 9,436 during the same period last year.