At least 25 passengers of the Mumbai-Delhi August Kranti Rajdhani Express have claimed that they were robbed of valuables worth Rs 10-15 lakh in the wee hours on Wednesday near Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh.
The incident is believed to have taken place after 3 am when the train entered the Kota division. While the RPF told the passengers to register their FIRs at the junction, most of them decided to do so in Nizamuddin. A total of 11 FIRs have been registered here.
As per the preliminary information received by the Railways Ministry, seven coaches of the train (A1, A3, B6, B7, B9, B10 and B5), all AC-2 tier and AC-3 tier, were targeted by thieves.
A senior official of the ministry said that a three-member Railway Police Force escort team of the train will be interrogated in the matter.
The incident came to light when the train was arriving at Rajasthan's Kota junction and the passengers woke up to find their purses and small hand bags emptied and dumped near the toilets and vestibules, as per the FIRs lodged by some passengers with the Government Railway Police (GRP) at Nizamuddin Station.
Last month, following three similar thefts on Rajdhani, passengers demanded installation of CCTV in coaches. Passengers say that there has been a rise in such thefts and they mostly take place between Kota and Ratlam stations.
Wester Railways General Manager AK Gupta said that special teams will be formed to ensure security in premium trains.
Many passengers complained of missing cash. Some said their iPhones, other electronic devices and complained of Aadhar card and other essential documents were missing.
Some alleged in their FIRs that they were drugged as the passengers slept soundly through the robbery. Many people even expressed apprehensions about the involvement of rail staff in the incident.
"Earlier, instances of dacoity have been reported and they are coming down now...We are taking all steps necessary. CCTV cameras are being installed in coaches to keep a check on such incidents. It's unfortunate that this has happened," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said.
PTI sources in the Railway ministry said that it was being probed if any railway staff was involved in the incident and if it was found to be true, strict action will be taken against them.
"The ministry is coordinating with the respective GRP in the matter," said Anil K Saxena, spokesperson, Indian Railways.
The number of robberies from January-June 2016 was 360, while in the same period this year, the number reduced to 345.
The number of cases of dacoity during January-June 2016 were 24, as compared to 17 during the same period this year. The Mumbai-Nizamuddin Rajdhani is one of the premium and most sought-after trains on the route.
In April, robbers struck the Delhi-Patna Rajdhani Express at a place in Bihar and stole cash and jewellery worth lakhs from sleeping passengers.
The robbery raised questions about security in the country's main train service.
Railway officials said the cases have been registered under section 380 (theft) of Indian Penal Code.