For the second time in three years, it was the woman who led the police, unwittingly, to her fugitive husband.
In October 2000, Sheikh Binod, whose terror reign stretched across south Calcutta, went to meet his pregnant second wife Naseema Begum at a Beleghata nursing home. He had no clue that a Calcutta Police force was lying in wait for just that and ended up in the cop net.
Three years later, the law caught up with Binod, once again thanks to Naseema, barely a month after he had scaled the Dum Dum Central jail boundary wall to freedom, after having allegedly struck “expensive deals” with some jail officials to pave his escape path from prison.
Realising that keeping a watch on his wife was the best chance they had of trapping Binod, the South 24-Parganas district police did just that. Naseema, they noticed, was shuttling between her parents’ place in Baruipur and a newly-rented house in Dankuni, often in disguise. This was where Binod and his accomplice had holed up.
District police admitted on Sunday that they were continuously tailing Naseema, ever since Binod gave the jail authorities the slip on September 25. In fact, the clear brief held by R.N. Banerjee, sub-divisional police officer (Baruipur), was to keep a close watch on Naseema.
Last week, things began to fall into place. Officer in-charge of Tiljala police station Subir Chatterjee was tipped off that a man resembling Binod, and walking with a limp, had been sighted in Dankuni.
Police files confirmed that Chaitanya Pal, convict-turned-plumber who had facilitated the escape, had stated during interrogation that Binod had hurt his leg badly while scaling the prison wall and was undergoing treatment. And then, two days ago, when Naseema went from her Baruipur residence to the Dankuni address, police decided to move in.
On Saturday, the exact hideout was traced and the stage set for the swoop, said Chatterjee, who led a 22-member team with SDPO Banerjee to arrest Binod.
Binod admitted to the police that he had made all plans to slip out of the country, but his “unfortunate” fall from the prison wall, that left him with a fractured left leg, had grounded him.
First in an Ambassador and then by taxi, Binod moved from one hideout to another, from South to North 24-Parganas, from Nadia to Howrah, before deciding to take refuge in the Dankuni safe house.
“Binod roamed around Bengal for several days before he decided to set up base somewhere and get treated. He was desperate to flee, but luck had run out for him and we were hot on his heels,” said Deb Kumar Ganguly, superintendent of police (South 24-Parganas) on Sunday.
Cash-strapped and limping, Binod, who had spent a huge amount to bribe his way out of the high-security prison in Dum Dum, was forced to push back his getaway plans.
Binod, police later said, first saw a doctor and got his left leg plastered. Then, he started calling up a few of his closest partners in crime from his cellphone. These calls, too, helped police get a trace on the goon on the run. And by the time the cops caught up with Binod early on Sunday, he was a beaten man.