Anil Minda, the braveheart who had every reason to feel betrayed when the armed goons he had resisted and helped round up were allowed to walk free by a court last week, can now breathe easy.
Early on Friday, officers of the anti-dacoity wing of the city detective department re-arrested Sikander, Gulzar and Nana ' who had assaulted Minda on October 31, 2002 ' on other charges.
'The trio was picked up from Beckbagan and Phoolbagan on charges of extortion in another case,' said an officer of the detective department.
The three had been acquitted on April 29 by Alipore fast track first court judge Partha Pratim Das, for insufficient evidence in the case involving their attack on Minda, a trader in motor parts residing in Phoolbagan.
Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee had in 2004 felicitated Minda with a bravery award for having foiled the robbery bid by the three goons at Phoolbagan and even pinning Gulzar down. Sikander and Nana were rounded up within a week.
When Metro informed Minda about his assailants' acquittal on Thursday, he had reacted with disbelief and dismay. 'How is that possible' They had all been caught red-handed' They could be a threat to my family now,' he had said.
He sounded far more relieved on Friday: 'It's good to know that they have been re-arrested. I appreciate the role of the Calcutta Police. The investigating officer has assured me of our safety. I will do all that I can to help the police in their effort to prove them guilty.'
Father Ramdeo Minda, relieved at the re-arrest but amazed at the acquittal, said: 'I was accompanying my son in the car that day and it all happened in front of my eyes. I cannot believe that they were let off.'
According to the investigating officer of the case, Kapil Ahmed Hashmi, officers held a marathon meeting with detective department chief Gyanwant Singh to review the surprise April 29 judgment.
'We went over the documents to find if there had been any flaw in the way we handled the case,' Hashmi said. 'We have already applied for a certified copy of the judgment and we plan to move a petition before Calcutta High Court on Monday challenging the lower court's order.'
Sikander is said to be the mastermind who had earlier been convicted for a nine-year term but released on interim bail after serving four years.
Gulzar had served a full seven years for an armed robbery, while Nana, alias Rustam Khan, has at least seven cases against his name, but has never served a jail term, said officers of the detective department.