In a pre-dawn swoop on Friday, the police stormed the staff quarters of Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) near Howrah bridge and picked up a Bangladeshi criminal, suspected to have masterminded a string of recent dacoities in Burrabazar, Posta and parts of central Calcutta.
Sheikh Badal, the 25-year-old better known in criminal and cop circles as Bangladeshi Raju, has been booked for eight cases of dacoity and robbery, with more charges expected to add on.
According to the police, Raju did not give up easily. “When he realised he had been surrounded by policemen, he jumped off the terrace in a bid to make a dive for the Hooghly waters. But we intercepted him on the riverbank. He was drunk and received some injuries in the fall. So, he has been admitted him to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital,” said Soumen Mitra, deputy commissioner (I) of the detective department.
The cops zeroed in on Raju after his name started cropping up in connection with a series of dacoities in Burrabazar and Posta. “In the most recent case, Raju and three of his armed associates raided a businessman’s office-cum-shop on Jamunalal Bajaj Street, in Posta, and fled with Rs 4.5 lakh from the cash-box,” said an officer of the detective department. “We had detained some local youths, who confirmed Raju’s role in the heist.”
On Thursday night, the sleuths received a tip-off that Raju was holed up in the CPT quarters. Seven officers from the detective department’s dacoity wing laid a trap, along with personnel from North Port police station. “Raju was in an abandoned room on the first floor of the building, from which he tried to escape,” said Mitra.
According to Mitra, Raju is a Bangladeshi national who came to the city two years ago. “After arriving here, he started building a network in central Calcutta and its adjacent areas. Instead of using the local gangsters, he would hire goons from other parts of the city and Howrah. He never used the same set of associates in two successive operations. He would always flee the city after each operation and take refuge in Nadia or North 24-Parganas,” explained Mitra.
Police are on the lookout for four of Raju’s associates, two of whom are said to be from Bangladesh.