The conviction rate in theft cases of railway properties has witnessed a steep fall in Mumbai Division of Central Railway (CR), according to official data.
Figures obtained from the Mumbai division of Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Central Railway reveal that in 2012, total 341 accused were arrested, out of which 179 (52 per cent) were convicted by the court.
The conviction ratio dropped in 2013, when 378 accused were arrested and only 141 (37 per cent) were brought to book, the data said. The year 2014 saw further dip in conviction, when 314 offenders were arrested and only 89 (28 per cent) of them were convicted.
The current year has seen the steepest fall in the conviction rate, as up to April 2015, 104 accused were arrested but only 9 out of them (8 per cent) were convicted by the court, as per the data. These accused were booked by the RPF for allegedly stealing the equipments and fittings of the local and mail trains, such as fans, handles, cushion, wires, signalling tools, steel sheets, clamps, etc. The parts are stolen from the trains while they are parked in stabling or carshed, a senior RPF officer said.
Signalling fittings are preferred by the thieves, while fittings from electrical, mechanical, pathway, workshop, stores and overhead equipments are also stolen and regularly sold as scrap in the market, he said.
On the successful detection of the cases, the official said, "Better surveillance and fixing the responsibility on the staff and proper follow-up with investigative officials have always helped us."
Asked to comment on the falling rate of conviction, he said, "Now-a-days, thieves have become smart and they have started availing legal options. Prevailing laws, of which they take undue advantage, need to be made more stricter."