Sunday, February 10, 2008

Gang storms police station, takes away weapons

Adiyamankottai (Dharmapuri district): An unidentified armed gang, suspected to be of naxalites, stormed the Adiyamankottai police station in the wee hours of Saturday and decamped with six firearms, a bayonet and a walkie-talkie.

A Sub Inspector, two head constables and a sentry were on duty. Strangely, they offered no resistance. Hence, no one was injured. The exact number of the gang members was not known.

The gang gained easy entry into the police station through its main door and reached the heavily-guarded ‘bell of arms’ cell (strong room) where the weapons were kept.

It broke open the lock and took away six rifles, but left 10 other weapons untouched. The wooden stand on which the guns had been placed was found broken.

The missing arms included four .410 muskets and one 303 rifle and a single-barrel bridge loading rifle of a licensee who had brought it for routine verification. While leaving the station, the gang took away a walkie-talkie and a bayonet.

“We are waiting for senior officials to ascertain whether the magazines are intact,” said Salem Range DIG N. Chenbagaraman.

Sources claimed that the gang members had reportedly threatened the station officers before decamping with the arms.

The incident attracted no attention though the station is located right on the busy Salem-Bangalore National Highway.

Senior officials have whisked away four policemen and a few others, including Vellalapatti president Mathialagan, who was a PMK functionary, to an unknown place for inquiry.

IG (West Zone) Sanjay Arora told The Hindu that all angles including that of involvement of naxalites were being probed. Police stations all over the State have been put on high alert.

Dharmapuri SP Nazmul Hoda was camping at the spot. ADGP (Law and Order) K. Vijayakumar visited the spot and held an inquiry.

Superintendent of Police, `Q’ Branch CID M. Ashok Kumar is part of the team. When contacted, Director-General of Police, P. Rajendran said the police were probing three or four angles.

In 1998, brigand Veerappan and his gang members looted 9 rifles and a revolver from the Vellitirupathur police station in Erode district after tying up a Sub Inspector and 8 constables.

An attempt to loot a bank at Pennagaram in Dharmapuri district in 1998 by naxals ended up in the killing of a police driver.

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