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Rifles theft: 'Duo spent nearly 2 hrs at Army camp'

Press Trust of India  |  Bhopal 

The two suspects who stole two loaded INSAS rifles from the Army camp in Madhya Pradesh's Pachmarhi early Friday by posing as Army officers prima facie spent nearly two hours at the spot during which sentries rushed inside to obey their 'orders', a police officer said on Saturday.

Police have obtained CCTV footages revealing that the duo had boarded a train in Jabalpur to reach Pipariya railway station in Hoshangabad district where the Army camp is located, he said, adding that the duo hired an SUV in Pipariya to reach Pachmarhi, a distance of 55 kms.

The duo travelled back to the railway station in the same vehicle after committing the crime in early hours of Friday.

However, the police trail seems to have gone cold at the railway station which is not covered by CCTV cameras.

Police are now trying to find out how and where the two could have possibly escaped with the weapons.

In a major security breach, the two unidentified men had decamped with the rifles of sentries and ammunition, prompting the police to sound high alert.

Hoshangabad police, under whose jurisdiction Pachmarhi falls, have obtained a CCTV grab of the accused in hooded sweatshirts from a dhaba in Pachmarhi.

"We have the CCTV footage of the accused wearing hooded sweatshirts who got their food packed from the dhaba before committing the theft," Hoshangabad superintendent of police ML Chhari told PTI on Saturday.

The CCTV grab shows suspects wearing hooded sweatshirt of black and yellow colours.

He said the duo had hired an SUV from Pipariya railway station for their journey to and fro Pachmarhi.

"The SUV driver told us that the duo were speaking to each other in a Punjabi accent," the SP said.

He said the duo travelled back to Pipariya railway station after committing the crime in the same car.

However, what is emerging as a hurdle for the police is unavailability of CCTV cameras at Pipariya railway station.

"Prima facie, the duo entered the Army camp around 1.30 am and left around 3.13 am on Friday," the SP said, adding that multiple agencies are working on the case.

Additional Director General (ADG) of Police (Intelligence) Dr SW Naqvi said the police obtained CCTV footages revealing that the duo travelled to Pipariya railway station from Jabalpur.

"We are yet to find out how (and where) they escaped from the railway station after the crime," he said.

The duo still remains unidentified.

When asked whether investigators are closing in on the duo, the ADG said it will be premature to talk about such assumption.

Following Friday's incident, a high alert was sounded across Madhya Pradesh and security stepped up at vital establishments.

According to sources in police, the duo, posing as Army officers, got down from the SUV at the cantonment and ordered the sentry at the checkpost to summon other jawans for an assembly. They sent another sentry to call a JCO (Junior Commissioned Officer) from the camp.

While the two sentries rushed to obey the orders leaving the posts unguarded, the duo picked up their INSAS assault rifles loaded with magazines having 20 cartridges and fled, they said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, December 07 2019. 16:05 IST