Assailant Sarabjit Singh’s aide Honey Singh (top) being taken away and gangster Akhilesh Singh (above) leaves the court in Jamshedpur on Saturday. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, May 24: A youth tried to shoot at jailed gangster Akhilesh Singh inside the Jamshedpur civil court building where he had gone to surrender after the expiry of his two-month parole this morning, the unprecedented incident shaking up the judicial establishment and raising serious questions on security inside the court premises.
Though Akhilesh did not sustain any injury as the bullet got stuck in the pistol, his aides pounced on the assailant and beat him severely till he lost consciousness.
Police rescued the youth, later identified as Sarabjit Singh, a resident of Hindu Line in Golmuri, and sent him to MGM Medical College and Hospital in Sakchi from where he was referred to Tata Main Hospital. Till last reports came in, his condition was extremely critical.
Another youth, Honey Singh, who was with Sarabjit, was caught while he was trying to flee and thrashed before being handed over to police. Honey is a resident of Tata Line in the Sidhgora police station area of Jamshedpur.
East Singhbhum senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amol V. Homkar said they were trying to find out the motive behind the murder attempt even as Akhilesh and his aides sniffed a conspiracy by rivals.
“The two have no criminal background but they are addicted to cannabis. Honey claimed during questioning that he had only accompanied Sarabjit to the court. He told us that he got to know about Sarabjit’s plan to eliminate Akhilesh only after entering the court,” Homkar said.
Sarabjit had offered to pay Honey Rs 20,000 for helping him in the murder plot, the police officer added.
Akhilesh, serving life imprisonment at Ghaghidih Central Jail for the March 2002 murder of jailer of Sakchi divisional jail Uma Shanker Pandey, had come to surrender at the court of second additional district judge Dipak Nath Tiwary on the first floor of the civil court at 11am.
The 37-year-old crime lord, with a long historysheet, including the 2007 murder of shoe baron Ashish Dey in Jamshedpur, was on a two-month parole since March 26 for his father’s treatment.
“After surrendering, Akhilesh waited for a police escort for 10 minutes and then headed to the court of first class judicial magistrate Manoranjan Kumar on the second floor for a 2002 abduction case. Suddenly, a man (Sarabjit) got close to him near the staircase and pointed a pistol at him. He pulled the trigger but the cartridge got stuck in the pistol. He then tried to fire again, but was unsuccessful,” said a lawyer, who was at the spot.
By that time, around 40 supporters accompanying the gangster had closed in on the assailant. They beat him black and blue till he fell down senseless in a pool of blood.
“It seems a big conspiracy has been hatched by my rivals to eliminate me,” Akhilesh, who joined Ajsu in 2012, said while being taken to Ghaghidih jail in a prisoners’ van.
His supporters claimed that the gunman had been hired by a rival gang owing allegiance to deceased gangster Paramjeet Singh, who was killed inside Ghaghidih jail by Akhilesh’s aides in 2009.
As news spread about the murder bid — lawyers said they had never heard about such an attempt in a court — a shock wave ran through the legal fraternity.
Senior bar member and former president of Jamshedpur Bar Association Tapas Mitra lambasted the authorities for the security loopholes.
“The administration should immediately do a security review and ensure that metal detectors at exit and entrance gates are manned properly. Visitors should be frisked properly,” Mitra added.
Sudhir Kumar Pappu, another lawyer, blamed lax policing. “There are no police personnel at the entrance and exit gates. Police deployment should be increased immediately,” the advocate added.
SSP Homkar admitted to the security lapses, saying that the number of personnel had been increased on the court premises from today.
“We will be holding a joint review of the security parameters along with district judge (Anant Vijay Singh) at the court on Tuesday,” he added.