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Justice, two Pujas late
- 10 years’ RI for murder bid on rival’s friend

Criminal Jishu Jain and accomplice Barun Mandal were awarded 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) on Monday for an unsuccessful attempt to kill a man on Bijoya Dashami two years ago.

Each of them was also fined Rs 5,000 by additional district and sessions judge Himadri Guha Ray, failing which they would have to serve two more months in jail.

“Jishu had 23 cases against him, including 15 for successful or unsuccessful attempts to murder rivals,” said deputy superintendent of police (town) Subhankar Chatterjee.

One of Jishu’s recent crimes was the murder of New Alipore promoter Mahesh Agarwal, earlier this year.

Accomplice Barun, too, had many cases pending against him. He was charged for a murder in February 2001.

He was part of the gang that sprayed a hail of bullets at an influential, CPM-backed non-teaching staff of Barisha High School, Golak Sen, during school hours, spreading terror and panic in Behala.

The crime for which Jishu and Barun were convicted on Monday, however, occurred a few more months earlier.

The victim, Arabinda Mandal, was believed to be close to Jishu’s rival, Khokon Adhikari, in the battle for crime turf on the city’s southern fringes.

On October 20, 2000, Arabinda, alias Mejka, and a friend, Raju, were watching the immersion processions near the Diamond Harbour Road-Nafar Chandra Road crossing, in Behala, when Jishu and Barun came in an autorickshaw and fired at him. They fled in the same vehicle.

Mejka, however, was lucky, said investigating officer P.K. Maitra on Monday. While Jishu’s bullet hit him below the chest, the one fired by Barun missed him, Maitra added.

Mejka was immediately taken to SSKM Hospital, where he was admitted in a critical condition.

His mother, Basanti Ghosh, lodged an FIR with Behala police a few hours later.

Jishu was arrested nine days later and the chargesheet was filed a few weeks later, public prosecutor -in-charge Kanchan Kumar Nag said on Monday.

Officials admitted that it was a “well-earned victory” in court for them. “Jishu was behind many other cases of crime while he was in jail,” said a South 24-Parganas police officer.

The police feel that Jishu’s conviction and subsequent prolonged stay in prison could result in rivals working overtime to dislodge his group from its “pre-eminent” position in crime in south Calcutta and the bordering areas of South 24-Parganas.

“We will have to keep a close watch on the situation now,” admitted an official.

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