WARANGAL/HYDERABAD: After a long lull, the age-old modus operandi of drugging and robbing passengers on trains is back again. Six Nepalese men heading to Delhi by the Yeswanthpur-Hazrat Nizamuddin Sampark Kranthi Express fell victims to sedative-laced biscuits and cool drinks offered by strangers on board on Saturday night.
The passengers were given Samosas and soft drinks laced with sedatives as soon as the train embarked on the journey from Yeswanthpur. One of the six passengers' health condition is stated to be critical and is admitted to Intensive Care Unit at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Warangal, while the others are said to be out of danger.
The passengers identified as Shobi alias Sandeep (25), Dinesh Bandari (25), Bola Sharma (32), Amit Tiwari alias Binni Tiwari (30), Ravi alias Chobhir (22) and Ramesh, all hailing from Nepal, were working in Bengaluru.
Bola Sharma was working as a carpenter, while all the others were working as security guards at different places. At around 10 pm on Friday, they boarded the Karnataka Sampartk Kranthi Express train bound to Hazrat Nizamuddin from Yeswanthpur railway station.
They were going to Nepal, after about a year. About half-an-hour into train's departure, four unidentified persons posing as passengers went near the Nepalese men who were in the general compartment and introduced themselves. After brief conversations, they offered eatables and soft drinks to the Nepalese, who on consuming them became unconscious.
One of the passengers who got conscious at Kacheguda railway station has approached the Government Railway Police and informed them about the incident.The Kacheguda GRP personnel alerted the Kazipet GRP Control room and the passengers were de-trained at around 12 am on Sunday. They were all rushed to MGM Hospital in Warangal for the treatment.
The passengers have told the railway police at Kazipet that they were carrying cash around Rs 5,000 to Rs 18,000, and the suspects have looted them. Dinesh Bhandri, who alerted the police has said "As soon as the train moved from Yeswantapur, four co-passengers started conversing. After about 25 minutes they offered soft drinks and Samosas. They had also mixed sedatives in the water bottle and gave to Bola Sharma when he refused to have the soft drinks.
"The railway police have recorded the statements of the five persons who got conscious and are trying to contact their family members, while another person is said to be in ICU.
Additional Director General (Road Safety & Railways) Sandeep Shandilya said that the passengers are said to be robbed after they were drugged in the general compartment. One passenger is in ICU as he reportedly consumed the eatables given by the suspects in high quantity, while the others are recuperating.
The Additional DG said, "Once the passengers come back to their senses, we will collect portrait parle of the suspects and probe further."Responding to a query, the official said: "There were four similar cases recorded in the state in the routes of Mahabubnagar, Vikarabad and Kacheguda. That gang has been arrested. Though the theft is said to have happened in Karnataka, the complaint has been received at Kacheguda. Based on the clues and evidence, the investigation will be done."
On March 1, 2018, eleven male passengers, all aged between 22 and 50, were drugged and robbed by strangers who offered them sedative-laced biscuits and cool drinks on board the Yesvantpur-Lucknow Express.