RPF lays trap, nabs illegal-poster babas
The main accused and his accomplice the duo behind the illegal posters advertising the cure-all magic of Bangali Baba were caught in a special operation on December 1
A special squad of the Railway Protection Force (RPF), Western Railway, Borivli, arrested Furkam Malik Abdul Sattar (28) and Shakeel Mohammad Ali (35), residents of Mira Road on December 1, who were behind the Bangali Baba illegal posters. They were one of the many groups who claimed to be self-styled godmen offering solutions to all one’s troubles from impotency to an ill-paying job.
Railway commuters will now be seeing less of these suspicious posters because the RPF is keeping a strict watch on illegal banners in local trains. They have started an anti-illegal posters drive, and are taking serious action against the perpetrators.
The RPF was able to catch the two accused behind the Bangali Baba posters in a special operation. After receiving numerous complaints from passengers and activists about these dubious posters, Borivli RPF roped in a special team of four members, including a woman constable, to catch the culprits. The team included inspector Satyajit Kumar, assistant sub-Inspector Samaliya Singh, head constable Girish Shukla and constable
Posing as a woman in distress, Kawde called up the number mentioned on the poster and pretended that she was in dire need of his help. The team followed the Baba’s lead and arrested him and his accomplices. “These culprits don’t answer the call immediately. They take some time and verify the caller by calling from a different number. After verifying, they call the victim to the address and extort them,” said an RPF official from WR.
The duo confessed their crimes and said that they had been running this scam to earn make extra money. They have been kept in jail for 10 days for not being able to pay the fine. Though the railways have been following the case for a long time, they were unable to get hold of the nexus. From January to November 2013, RPF arrested 166 offenders and collected a fine of Rs 1,83,100.
From November 25 to December 3, during the anti-illegal posters drive, eight people were arrested and a fine of Rs 3,400 was collected from them, other than the crackdown on the duo. Ramchandra Karve, a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) employee, took up this issue and started a drive to get rid of such dubious posters in local trains. MiD DAY reported about Karve’s campaign in a report (‘Just one man behind numerous ‘Bangali Baba’ posters on Mumbai’s trains, finds commuter’) on October 13.
“I had found that these Babas are involved in many crimes, so I took up the matter and started a campaign to save the passengers. I have also collected such posters and discovered that there were over 20 Bangali Babas and surprisingly most of them turned out to be aliases of the same person,” said Karve. Senior chief security commissioner Rajendra Rupnawar of the RPF (WR), said, “We will continue the drive and we are targeting the main culprits. Also, if any passenger has any information, they can call up on the RPF helpline and share the details with us.”
The fine collected from persons putting up illegal posters in trains during Jan-Nov this year
Passengers can call on this number to register a complaint against illegal posters