Ranaghat, Aug. 6: A former home guard of Calcutta Police, posing as a customs officer was arrested while trying to snatch Rupees 1.5 lakh from an agent of a foreign currency exchange company at the Gede railway station on Saturday evening.
The accused – Himadri Mondal, 32, a resident of Tollygunge, was nabbed by the Railway Protection Force and handed over to the Ranaghat GRP authorities. Police during frisking have found an identity card of Mondal with Calcutta Police. He was produced before the ACJM court in Ranaghat, which ordered five days of police custody.
GRP sources in Ranaghat said that the accused had tried to snatch a bag containing the money from money exchange agent Karna Nath while traveling on a Gede-bound local train on Saturday evening. Nath, however, in a desperate attempt to save the money had jumped off the running train during a scuffle with the Mondal when the train was arriving at the Gede station. The incident alerted the RPF personnel who nabbed the Mondal when he was trying to flee.
Speaking to the media persons Karna Nah said, “A little after the train left Tarak Nagar station a man introducing himself as a customs official began asking me about the bag. But he flashed an identity card of Calcutta Police, which was quite suspicious. Nevertheless, I told him carrying money being a foreign currency exchange associate. But the man suddenly snatched my bag. I tried my best to get it bag when some of his associates prevented me which led to a scuffle. However, I luckily managed to get it back amid the scuffle and jumped off the running train as it was entering the Gede station”. Once the train stopped, the accused was trying to flee but the RPF personnel caught him.
An Officer of Ranaghat GRP said, “The accused introduced himself as a customs official. But, the identity card we found indicates that he is a home guard with Calcutta Police, which is being examined. We are trying to find out his other associates”.
Preliminary inquiry revealed that the accused youth was posted as a home guard with traffic police, but “discontinued” from service due to indefinite absence.
Speaking to the reporters on the way to the court in Ranaghat accused Himadri Mondal claimed of leaving the job due to personal problems and claimed innocence rubbishing the allegations. “I have been implicated with fake charges”, Mondal said.
Gede being the land port and a terminal station with a train link to Bangladesh records the arrival of a few thousand Bangladeshi passengers every day. At least nine RBI-approved foreign currency exchange companies provide service in Gede with the support of about 300 staff and agents.
Dianabandhu Mahaldar, president of Gede Land Port Society, an organization of the money exchangers alleged that a racket has been active since long to snatch money from money exchangers’ associates. “This is not the first occasion such attack or attempt of snatching occurred. A racket is active and operates on running trains mostly. But, the intelligence wing of the police could not so far nab them”, Mahaldar said.