Bhopal: A special patrol train has been started in a stretch in Madhya Pradesh where the notorious dacoit gang, Gadaria, of the Chambal ravines is very active.
The patrol train between the Shivpuri and Gwalior districts is to ensure the safety of railway employees and passengers.
The Gadaria gang has threatened to target the railways on more than one occasion.
On November 15, 2005, it even abducted eight railway employees from Shivpuri and released them only after a ransom worth hundreds of thousands of rupees.
The patrol train, moving up and down four times a day, carries armed Government Railway Police (GRP), Special Action Force, Madhya Pradesh Police and Rapid Action Force personnel to face any onslaught from the gang, marked as T-1 (target number one) in police priority.
"The step has been taken to ensure the safety of railway employees as well as passengers. Cops on duty in the train stop at various spots and meet the employees so they can work fearlessly," said GRP Commandant, Bhopal Rail Division, Sarika Mohan.
"The train has been plying for the past week," Mohan informed.
An accused in more than 100 crimes, which include murders, robberies, kidnappings and extortion, Rambabu Gadaria carries a reward of Rs 500, 000 on his head.
He is also wanted in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Police records say that his gang specialises in kidnappings and he has taken more than 300 people hostage in the past eight years.
In mid-May, he was in the news for announcing a reward of Rs 5 million for bringing dead or alive Gwalior Inspector-General of Police Sanjay Rana, Shivpuri Superintendent of Police R S Meena and Station House Officer Ashok Bhaduria.
The Gadaria gang carries a Rs 1.5 million reward that police have announced for the heads of all the six brothers of the dacoit gang.
Rambabu, who has earned the sobriquet of Chambal's Veerappan, has made millions through abductions and earnings from stone quarries and acquired a larger than life image after his much-hyped escape from police custody over five years ago.
Rambabu, who during his seven years in the Chambal ravines has abducted at least 200 people and killed 30 of them for not getting ransom and also extorted a ransom of over Rs 20 million, shot into prominence when he massacred 16 Gujjars in October 2004.
He had also threatened to rob the Bangalore Rajdhani Express.
The state police, desperate to get Rambabu because of his daring operations and knack for publicity, have put a team of 600 on the trail of the Gadaria gang but the caste factor had made his gang invincible in the Chambal ravines.
Police officials who have been tracking the dacoits for some time now say that the Gadariya brothers dole out large sums for information on the police.
"The villagers who help the gang and shopkeepers who supply rations to them too are paid like anything for the favours. These strategic moves by the Gadaria gang have earned them loyalists among the villagers," a police source said.
"We hope to eliminate the gang soon as we too have local informers and get information on the movement of the gang, but unfortunately they reach us late," Rana says.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - IANS)