A gang of train robbers carried out a daring heist on passengers of the Blue Mountain Express in the wee hours of Saturday morning and escaped from the train near Sankagiri in Salem District.
The incident took place between 2.45 and 3.30 am when the driver of the train slowed the locomotive near Mavelipalayam station near Sankagiri, between Salem and Erode junctions.
The signal light staff heard passengers scream and saw a gang of about five persons get off the train and run into the dark.
Efforts by the railway staff and passengers to chase the gang turned futile. The driver, guard and other crew members checked coaches S4, S6 and S7 as these were the coaches from which the gang members fled.
It was found that the gang had snatched jewels from two women passengers and the hand luggage of another. The victims of the theft have been identified as Chitra (31), from Ayanavaram in Chennai travelling in coach S4, who had been robbed of her three-sovereign chain. The other victims have been identified as Jayanthi (39), from Annanagar, who was robbed of her four-sovereign chain and Padmavathi, a passenger in coach S7 had also complained about an attempt to snatch
her chain. The thieves are alleged to have snatched her bag instead.
The Railway Police DSP Senthilkumar, Inspector D.Veerammal and SI Selvaraj arrived at the spot and began investigations. According to them the driver slowed down at Mavelipalayam as the signal had turned red.
According to the Railway Police, the gang had snatched the chains from the victims rather than steal the jewellery at knifepoint as the victims’ testimonies suggested. Later the West Zone IG Davidson and Salem DIG A.Amalraj visited Mavelipalayam station and held a meeting with police personnel at Salem. The need to strengthen security in trains and also plans to nab the culprits were discussed.
Coimbatore district superintendent of Police M Sudhakar held a preliminary inquiry with the three victims.