Two men steal INSAS rifles from Army cantonment, cops on alert

BHOPAL: Posing as Army personnel, two unidentified men decamped with two INSAS rifles along with 20 rounds of live cartridges from Army Education Corps (Centre) from Panchmarhi in Hoshangabad district early Friday morning.

A high security alert and manhunt has been launched across the state, Hoshangabad district SP M L Chhari said over phone. The incident happened when a security alert was in place across the country owing to 27th anniversary of Ayodhya demolition on Friday.

According to reports, the two men wearing black tracksuits and black caps introduced themselves as army officers to jawans deployed on sentry duty at one of the gates known as Cariappa Gate leading to Military musical band training facility at around 2.30 am.

DIG intelligence Manoj Sharma said that primary reports indicate that the duo (one of them bearded) spoke in Punjabi lingo. The duo then asked sentry duty to allow them inside for security checks as they (duo) were on surprise inspection.

Once the sentry duty jawans left the gate after depositing their arms and ammunitions there, the duo posing as army officers decamped with both INSAS rifles and the live rounds.

The police came to know that the duo had hired a taxi from the Pipariya railway station (around 55 km from hill tourist spot Panchmarhi) at around 12.15 am and then returned in the same Taxi to Pipariya railway station at around 4 am, just a short while before Hazrat Nizamuddin-Jabalpur Shridham Express train left for Jabalpur (around 150 km from Pipariya) after a two minute halt at Pipariya junction in Hoshangabad district.

Taxi driver identified as Mangal of Pipariya, has been detained for questioning by Hoshangabad police and his vehicle seized for further probe.

Hoshangabad district police superintendent ML Chhari said, “The two men posing as army officers duped Cariappa company jawans on sentry duty and decamped with two INSAS rifles and 20 live rounds. They hired the taxi around midnight from Pipariya and returned around 4 am by the same taxi at Pipariya railway station. Entire matter is being investigated and an alert has been sounded, besides the matter has been conveyed to the railway police also.”

According to sources privy to ongoing police investigation, the Army Education Corps (Centre) has already instituted an internal probe into the incident, while Hoshangabad police are in the process of registering a case of theft u/s 380 of IPC on the Army’s complaint.

"The Military Police are investigating the matter. They will lodge a formal complaint with us," Chhari said. "Police across the state have been asked to remain alert and keep a close watch at important places," additional director general of police (intelligence) Dr S W Naqvi said.

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