| Sajal Barui, six years ago
Three months ago, he was picked up for petty theft, as Sheikh Raju. Today, he is back to being Sajal Barui, the boy who had conspired and killed his parents 10 years ago.
Sajal, the lifer who had managed to escape from a city hospital, had been masquerading as Raju in Midnapore Central Jail since February, when he was arrested for “snatching and robbery”.
The name-game ended dramatically when his Midnapore jailer, who had met Sajal during his earlier tenure at Alipore jail, recognised the then teen criminal.
“Sajal was arrested from the Jamboni area in February-end. He was then masquerading as Sheikh Raju,” said K.C. Meena, superintendent of police, Midnapore. “We have contacted our counterparts in Calcutta and officials of the detective department will arrive here on Saturday to interrogate Sajal.”
On the night of November 22, 1993, Sajal murdered his father and stepmother at their Dum Dum residence. The 14-year-old had conspired with five others. Barui was proved guilty in court and served a life sentence. “He was admitted to Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital with some ailments. But in the middle of a September night, in 2001, Sajal escaped from hospital. Since then, he has managed to stay a step ahead of the police.
The chase hotted up early this year when Sajal barely managed to escape a trap laid by the city police. Phoolbagan police station officers Shantanu Majumdar and Suborno Dutta Chowdhury, along with officers of Maniktala police station, had nearly tracked the fugitive down by using a young woman, believed to be Sajal’s girlfriend. For three days, the officers followed the woman in a taxi, till a rendezvous was set up on VIP Road. But Sajal did not turn up.
A few days later, the Midnapore police picked up ‘Sheikh Raju’ for petty theft. After interrogating Sajal in Midnapore jail, district policemen pieced together the tale of the convict on the run. “After fleeing from the hospital, Sajal headed for Mumbai, where he met a girl. He married her and stayed in Mumbai for a few months. He returned to Calcutta in mid-2002 and sent his wife to Asansol,” said Midnapore SP Meena.
Sajal took refuge in the Lake Town house of Hatkata Bishu, a local crimelord. The youth turned to robbery as Kamal, a name that cropped up in connection with a dacoity in Ultadanga. As the city police launched a hunt for Kamal, Sajal ‘migrated’ to the safer zone of Jamboni, Midnapore. This time as Sheikh Raju.
“Sajal tied up with Rajeev Meti, a Jamboni criminal. We first arrested him as Meti’s associate. We grew suspicious on failing to figure out his antecedents,” added Meena. And then the jailer nailed Sajal.