An alleged taxi driver gang was noticed operating in Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Kurla fleecing money from the migrant workers. As per a complaint to LTT Kurla Railway Protection Force (RPF), the alleged gang board trains arriving in Kurla, identifies migrant workers, panics them, and forcefully takes them to their taxis charging them about Rs 7000 – 8000 per head for reaching their destinations to board the connecting train.
On 12 June, at about 5.30 PM, six people allegedly from the gang tried to cheat a group of eight migrant workers from Jharkhand arriving on a train from Kudal asking them to shell out Rs 8000 each in order to drive them to the Kalyan station so they would be able to board the connecting train to Howrah. The migrants panicked as they were told by the gang members that the connecting train had already left Kurla.
Sensing trouble, one of the migrants refused. The alleged gang members threatened him with police action and violence and told him that he will be illegally staying in Mumbai if he does not catch the connecting train at Kalyan. The alleged gang members told him that the police will lock him up for good and take all his money. The migrant was slapped by one of the alleged gang members after he refused again. One of the alleged taxi drivers was wearing a Khaki uniform resembling a police dress panicking the migrants further.
The panicked migrants called for the help of their employer in Kudal, who in turn contacted his acquaintance in Mumbai. The acquaintance arrived quickly and informed the RPF. The RPF screened the CCTV footage to identify the alleged gang members who had escaped by then.
As per the RPF in Kurla, the alleged gang could have boarded the train arriving from Kudal in Thane station and must have identified the targets. Since LTT Kurla has just one entrance and the RPF is deputed at the gate, the alleged taxi drivers could not have entered the station. The migrants could not identify the alleged gang members on the CCTV footage. The case was closed, but the RPF said that they will be on the lookout. The RPF subsequently escorted the migrants to their connecting train at 8.30 PM and stood guard till the train departed.
A similar incident had happened on June 1 when the alleged gang had charged Rs 7000 each from 11 migrants coming from Kudal. As per one of the migrants, the taxi drivers told them the connecting train had already left and they can take them to Kalyan from where they can board the train. They also threatened them that they will call the police and report about them if they refused. The incident happened at about 5.30 PM and the connecting train the migrants were to board in LTT Kurla had the scheduled departure at 8.30 PM. The taxi drivers drove around for a few hours to justify the amount and then left them in Kalyan to catch the train which arrived at 9.15 PM. As per the migrants, the six taxi drivers who were Hindi speaking, their car had posh interiors and they drove like racing car drivers.
Recounting the incident about a few months back a migrant lady heading back to Jharkhand had been cheated by six alleged taxi drivers outside LTT Kurla. She was accosted by a man in a taxi driver uniform outside LTT Kurla asking her about her destination. He told her that her train had left and he could help her reach Akola Junction where she can board the train. Although confused about how the train could leave an hour earlier, she was convinced by six people including the man who had accosted her. She agreed to pay Rs 8000 for the trip but later upon reaching a lonely place they stopped and asked her to pay additional Rs 10,000.