When a cop­per wire is stolen...

Mid Day - - CITY -

THE Rail­way Pro­tec­tion Force (RPF) is not beat­ing around the bush to catch cul­prits and curb cases of cop­per wire theft, but is am­bush­ing them. The of­fi­cials, of­ten dressed in plain clothes as beg­gars or scrap col­lec­tors, have been hiding on the tracks to nab those try­ing to make a quick buck by steal­ing the pre­cious cop­per wires, whose thefts end up dis­turb­ing the punc­tu­al­ity of trains.

Cops on am­bush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plas­tic bag and hide be­hind bushes and un­der parked trains. They de­cided to de­ploy this tech­nique af­ter over 15 cases of sig­nal wire theft were regis­tered in Cen­tral Rail­way’s Mum­bai di­vi­sion. On March 10, the Dadar RPF were suc­cess­ful in catch­ing a thief through this method.

How it be­gan

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, around 12.15 am that day, a sig­nal cabin con­trol of­fi­cer no­ticed a sig­nal fluc­tu­at­ing be­tween Kurla and Sion rail­way sta­tion and im­me­di­ately in­formed the op­er­at­ing con­trol room, which in turn told the di­vi­sional se­cu­rity con­trol room the ex­act lo­ca­tion The ex­pen­sive cop­per wire passes sen­sors in the sig­nal ca­bles. Ex­perts from the sig­nal depart­ment ex­perts said it pro­vides in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the pres­ence of trains on the track. If some­one steals the wires, the re­lay room does not get any in­for­ma­tion about the trains. When­ever such a theft hap­pens, the ‘A’ mark board, which is on every sig­nal, gets au­to­mat­i­cally where they no­ticed the fluc­tu­a­tion. This pro­to­col is un­der­taken when­ever any­one toys with the highly val­ued cop­per wire used in sig­nal ca­bles.

Satish Menon, se­nior RPF in­spec­tor, Dadar said, “Once we were in­formed about this, we im­me­di­ately asked our field of­fi­cer to reach at the site im­me­di­ately. He then found a man who was cut­ting the wire with the help of blade. Our of­fi­cers de­tained him and found three pieces of 3-ft-long cop­per wires.” The wires are worth R18,000 each.

Did it for the al­co­hol

The man, iden­ti­fied as Mathura Prasad Nishad, 26, was then ar­rested. Dadar RPF ac­ti­vated. This also helps the mo­tor­man stop the train for a minute. Mean­while, the re­lay room in­forms the sig­nalling depart­ment, whose of­fi­cers then rush to the site to re­pair the wires. Value of each cop­per wire regis­tered a case against him un­der sec­tion 3 (a) of the Rail­way Prop­erty Un­law­ful Pos­ses­sion Act and 174 (c), and sec­tion 147 of the Rail­ways Act. Nishad was steal­ing the wires be­cause he needed money to buy al­co­hol.

Sachin Bhalode, CR’s se­nior di­vi­sional se­cu­rity com­mis­sioner, told mid day, “To curb such cases, we have de­ployed our plain­clothes staff across the sec­tion, es­pe­cially where such cases have hap­pened in the past. Over 15 cases have been re­ported in the past month in our di­vi­sion, of which three to four cases were re­ported at Diva, three in Kar­jat, two in Pan­vel, one in Thane and one in Dadar (where the thief was caught).”

Cops on am­bush duty dress in plain clothes, put on a plas­tic bag and hide be­hind bushes and un­der parked trains

Mathura Prasad Nishad was caught steal­ing wires

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