A lot can happen over a cup of tea. For instance, had Satish Saraf firmly refused to down the brew offered by a co-passenger on a Howrah to Mumbai train on May 14, he wouldn’t be missing Rs 2 lakh, two cellphones, some important documents, a diamond ring, passport, PAN card, driving licence, credit and debit cards, pen drive, hard disk etc. The 34-year-old, who had boarded the Jnaneshwari Express the previous day, was unconscious for nearly 30 hours. He woke up with a heavy head and considerably lighter luggage.
At 9 am on May 14, about 10 hours into his trip, Satish freshened up and took out a packet of biscuits to munch on. A stranger, who had also boarded the train from Howrah, requested him to share some. The Kalyan businessman obliged and in return the co-passenger asked the pantry staff for two cups of tea. At first Satish turned down the offer, but the stranger insisted, arguing that if he could consume the biscuits why couldn’t they share the tea. The victim gave in.
All this happened when the train had halted at Bilaspur Station. “After this, I am only able to recall four persons in police uniform asking me to get off the train so they could take me to a nearby hospital. I refused, and then blacked out again,” Satish said.
On May 15, Satish’s brother Sandeep came to pick him up from Kalyan station and, on seeing his condition, approached the nearby railway police station. Local GRP got Satish admitted to the railway hospital at Kalyan, and recorded his statement. Later, the victim realised that one of his bags was missing. He immediately approached banks to block his credit and debit cards, but learnt that the crook had already used them for buying jewellery worth Rs 1.97 lakh from two stores in Raipur (the next station after Bilaspur where Jnaneshwari Express halts).
A case was lodged at Kalyan GRP the same day. A senior officer from the force said, “In our presence, the victim received a call from a stranger who maintained that if Satish wanted his documents and belongings back he would have to pay for the same. We have forwarded the case to Raipur police and are trying to trace the call.”
“We took statements of Satish and registered a case here. But as the incident took place in Bilaspur, we had to redirect the matter there,” said AR Jagtap, senior inspector, Kalyan GRP.
“We have not received the case papers yet, only the statements through fax. We can’t look into the matter until we get all the documents,” said Deven Sahay, a senior GRP officer in Raipur.