Next time when you are travelling in a train, think twice before accepting water from a co-passenger. Reason: the water may be laced with pills which may leave you unconscious.
This ploy was used by ‘zehar khurani’ (drug-and-rob) gangs in sleeper and general coaches. But now it is being used to rob passengers in AC coaches too. In fact, 12 such cases have been reported from long distance trains of Lucknow division in recent months.
The latest victim was the wife of a PCS officer travelling, who was coming to the city from Delhi in an AC coach. Three persons made several attempts to take her into confidence and offered her chips, biscuits and homemade laddoos. However, the woman politely refused each time. When the train was about to reach Lucknow, one of men played the ’emotional card’, telling her she was like his elder sister and he felt hurt when she refused to accept eatables. The officer’s wife fell in the trap, accepted tea and fell unconscious. By the time she regained consciousness the men had fled with her luggage.
In another case, a man travelling to Bihar in an AC two-tier coach was befriended and offered a laptop to listen to ghazals. In course of the journey, zehar khurans fed him intoxicated food and fled with his luggage when he lost consciousness.
Police say these thugs work in different layers and follow passengers right from the time they board the train. Gang members in the frontal layer acquire basic information of the passengers, like native town, profession, likes and dislikes, and then pass on the information to other members who finally execute the robbery.
The tricksters plan the robbery to the minutest detail. In a recent case, a gang cozied up to a businessman travelling to the city from Tamil Nadu by speaking Tamil. They then offered him a very spicy snack. When he started coughing, the gang members made him drink spiked water and fled with his luggage.
Injecting water bottles with drugs, offering spurious biscuits and laddoos as “prasad” is common among such gangs.
Gulshan Sartaj, RPF in charge at Charbagh station, said of late, cases have come to light wherein good-looking and well-dressed men travelling as a family have targeted unsuspecting passengers. They also flash costly gadgets and pose as professionals and businessman.