Durgapur, Jan. 3: Police claimed to have unearthed a racket in fake identity cards and gate passes of the Durgapur Steel Plant, which were being used to shelter criminals inside its premises and smuggle scrap.
“The police and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) conducted joint raids inside the plant and arrested three men yesterday, all of them rank outsiders and part of the racket,” said Jit Ram Bhagat, inspector-general of police, western range.
The criminals used the fake cards with magnetic strips to enter the plant to avoid being picked up by the police after committing crime elsewhere. This had been going on for the past few months, Bhagat said. “These men also used the fake gate passes to smuggle out metal scrap and sell them outside,” he added.
A high-level inquiry has been ordered to find out if any DSP employee was involved in the racket.
The police said the arrested trio, Sheikh Abdul Rahim, Bikash Roy and Ramdayal Yadav, was not on the plant’s rolls but had “total access” inside the high-security zone manned by the CISF personnel. The passes they carried had the names of genuine employees.
It was not difficult for them to mingle with the nearly 3,000 workers who man the plant in each shift, the police said.
Yadav had an identity card issued in the name of S.N. Banerjee, an executive in the plant’s medical unit. Bikash Roy assumed the name of S. Chowdhury, an assistant in the laboratory, and Rahim used the “card” of B. Tiwari, a technical assistant in the slag bank.
Yesterday, before the plant offices closed for the day, the joint forces team assembled at the gate in plain clothes. The three were picked up from there.
They were produced in court today and remanded in custody for four days.
The police fear that many more hardened criminals might be at large inside the plant. There are nearly 1,500 CISF personnel looking after the plant’s security.
But questions regarding the security set-up in the steel plant had been raised earlier as well. “We have foiled attempts to breach the security cordon earlier as well. But in this case, I see no fault on our part,” said J.S. Sagar, deputy inspector-general of the CISF here.
Bus burnt: A mob set a minibus on fire after another bus hit a motorcycle on Hostel Avenue here this evening.
Santosh Bhunia, 24, the pillion rider and B.P. Prasad, who was riding the motorcycle, were seriously wounded.
The driver of the bus, Swapan Ganguly, gave himself up at the Durgapur police station.