The catering services on Indian Railways have often drawn flak over hygiene and there have been multiple attempts to rectify things. But in a bizarre case, a man was caught Tuesday after he confessed to have dropped a “lizard” in his food intentionally.
Surender Pal, a 70-year-old, was nabbed by Railway Protection Force at the Guntkal station for contaminating his own meal.
The senior citizen had complained that he found a lizard in the vegetarian biryani he had purchased at the Guntkal station. He claimed that he had fallen sick after consuming the food and had been admitted to railway hospital, the South Central Railways said in a statement.
A senior divisional commercial manager noticed the uncanny similarity between Pal’s case and other cases reported in different divisions, with the most recent one being reported in Jabalpur.
When Guntkal division reached out to Jabalpur, they sent the photograph of a man who claimed to have found a lizard in his samosa. It turned out to be Pal. Pal’s photo popped again with the Pune division saying that he had claimed at the Miraj station that he found a blade in his idli.
In the two other cases, Pal allegedly threatened the stall owners with complaints and blackmailed them for money.
In joint operation one conman was caught who was fleecing the Railway Caterers by claiming lizard in food. He confessed his crime. He did similar trick in Jabalpur Division. Please beware of such elements, who bring Railways in bad light.@SCRailwayIndia pic.twitter.com/pZCX8LfzUd
— DRM Guntakal (@drmgtl) July 23, 2019
So, the railways laid a trap to catch him red-handed and sought the help of a stall owner. The stall owner offered a bribe to Pal so that he would not file a complaint. A PTI report says that when Pal was confronted by senior officials at Guntkal station, he confessed and claimed he was using a “fish which cured mental illness” for his tricks.
In the video, officials can be seen talking to the man, explaining to him that railways was the nation’s pride and belonged to the people. He was chastised for giving railways a bad name. But he was assured that no action would be taken against him if he promised to change his ways.
— SouthCentralRailway (@SCRailwayIndia) July 23, 2019
“I have done a wrong thing. I am an old man, I am mentally unstable, I have blood cancer. Please let me go. In Punjab there is an ayurvedic medicine. I used a fish which cures bone diseases and mental illness,” he is heard saying in the video when officials asked him what did he put in his food.
Pal also claimed that his father had been a senior official in the railways.
It isn’t clear whether Pal is mentally unstable as claimed or if he really had blood cancer, but he’s likely to be remembered him for his ingenuity, officials said.