BHOPAL: A high-security alert has been sounded across Madhya Pradesh after two unidentified men posing as army officers decamped with two INSAS rifles and 20 rounds live cartridges from the Army Education Corps (Centre) prime facility in hilly Pachmarhi town of Hoshangabad district early on Friday.
The incident took place despite intensified security across the country owing to the 27th anniversary of the Ayodhya demolition on Friday.
The two men wearing black tracksuits and black caps introduced themselves as army officers to those deployed on sentry duty at one of the gates leading to the Military musical band training facility at around 2.30 am.
The duo speaking in Punjabi informed the jawans that they have come to conduct a surprise inspection. Once the jawans left the gate depositing their arms, the duo decamped with both INSAS rifles and the live rounds.
Primary investigations by police revealed that the duo had hired a Taxi from the Pipariya railway station (around 55 km from the hill tourist hotspot Panchmarhi) at around 12.15 am and then returned in the same Taxi to Pipariya railway station at around 4 am, just a short while before Hazrat Nizamuddin-Jabalpur Shridham Express train left for Jabalpur (around 150 km from Pipariya) after a two minute halt at Pipariya junction in Hoshangabad district.
Hoshangabad district police have detained the taxi driver identified as Mangal, a resident of Pipariya town only. They have also seized his vehicle seized for further probe.
Confirming the episode, the Hoshangabad district police superintendent ML Chhari said, “The two men posing as army officers duped the Cariappa company jawans on sentry duty and decamped with two INSAS rifles and 20 live rounds. They hired the taxi at around midnight from Pipariya and returned at around 4 am by the same taxi at Pipariya railway station. Entire matter is being investigated and an alert has been sounded. The railway police are also informed about the incident.”
According to sources privy to ongoing police investigations, the Army Education Corps (Centre) has already instituted an internal probe into the entire episode, while the Hoshangabad police are in the process of registering a case of theft u/s 380 of IPC on the Army’s complaint.