Six dacoits allegedly posed as policemen and robbed two passengers on a KSRTC bus on Thursday. The incident took place around 12 midnight on Thursday when the Airavat luxury sleeper bus, headed from Bangalore for Kozhikode, was stopped by a gang at Ramanagaram on the busy Bangalore-Mysore highway. “One of the gang members was carrying a revolver. As they walked through the bus, they identified the victims, saying “these are the ones”, and asked them to go with them,” a senior policeman investigating the case said. The passengers have been identified as Aleem and Saddiq, both 27. Aleem was hit on his face by the abductors, although neither passengers sustained any serious injury. They are both residents of Kumbalgod near Kengeri. The two men were pushed into a Maruti Ertiga, which then sped away. “Initially, the passengers didn’t say anything as they thought the police had picked up the men. However, as they were driving away, a passenger noticed that the number plate of the Ertiga was covered with cow dung,” the policeman said. Suspicions aroused, the passenger brought it to the attention of the bus driver, who then called the police control room. An inspector reached the spot and heard the passengers’ accounts. He also took the bus, with the passengers, to the Ramanagaram police station, where the driver filed a complaint. Meanwhile, the two passengers were allegedly robbed of `30 lakh and thrown out of the car near Kengeri. The victims were on their way to Kozhikode to buy gold jewellery.
“They bring the gold and sell it here. They travel regularly at least three to four times a month,” a policeman said. “We are a little suspicious about why they were carrying so much cash,” he said. Passengers described the members as tall and wellbuilt. They spoke Kannada and Urdu. Police have formed two teams to trace the vehicle used in the heist. “We are looking at former convicts who have used a similar modus operandi,” the official said. The police are also looking at another angle: did the passengers stage the heist? “We are making portraits on the basis of descriptions and will release them if necessary,” a policeman said. The Ramanagara police have registered a case of dacoity under the Arms Act and are investigating.
In January this year, the Mysore police were implicated in a similar heist. They stopped a bus going from Bangalore to Kerala at Yelawala on the Mysore-Hunsur highway. They pulled out six bags containing cash and arrested the driver and cleaner of the bus. Although the police took away `2.26 crore, they showed the amount as just `20 lakh in their report. The CID is investigating the case, and suspect the hand of high offi cials. In February, a gang stopped a KSRTC bus at Odabai near Mangalore. They pulled out a passenger, assaulted him and robbed him of `4 lakh. The bus was on its way to Mangalore from Bangalore via Mysore. The victim works for an arecanut dealer.