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Steel city civil court turns fortress

Fifty armed policemen frisked visitors on civil court premises, a first for Jamshedpur’s forever crowded seat of justice trying to come to terms with Saturday’s audacious murder attempt on a gangster.

A police picket was set up at the court complex at Hume Pipe area of Sitaramdera on Monday, a result of a security blanket set in place after two men tried to gun down Akhilesh Singh who had come to surrender after the expiry of his bail terms. Luckily for him, the bullet got stuck in the revolver.

Policemen on duty at the court had been instructed to ensure that no one other than bonafide litigants, members of the legal fraternity and court staff were allowed in after a thorough check.

SP (city) Karthik S. said the number of policemen deployed had been increased from 20 to 50 on Monday to keep strict vigil on visitors to the three-storey court complex.

“This is the first step for augmenting court security which will be further tightened after a meeting on Tuesday between the district administration and the district judge. As the court premises come under the domain of the judiciary, we cannot do anything without taking the court authority in confidence,” he told The Telegraph.

The city SP said they were scheduled to take a call on increasing the number of CCTV cameras and whether the court lock-up would have to be relocated.

From now on, he added, prisoners’ vans would be provided with an escort van from Ghaghidih Central Jail to the civil court and back.

Lawyer Naval Kishore was sceptical about the permanency of the security measures.

“We know that whenever there is a law and order situation in the civil court, police enhance security. But things return to square one soon, leaving the premises at the mercy of criminals,” he said.

The unprecedented security measures were a fallout of Saturday’s attack on Akhilesh Singh by two men, Sarabjit and Honey Singh, on the second floor of the court building.

Honey Singh, a close aide of Sarabjit who is in hospital battling serious injuries he sustained after being beaten up by Akhilesh’s henchmen, was produced before the judicial magistrate’s court.

The police sought a 10-day remand for him.

Officer-in-charge of Sitaramdera police station Shushil Kumar said investigations were on. “We want the 10-day police remand of Honey Singh as we want to unravel the mystery behind the murder bid and find out the real culprit,” he said.

During questioning, Honey (25), an electrician by profession, admitted he was with Sarabjit that day, but denied any knowledge of the plan to attack Akhilesh Singh.

“I was with Sarabjit from the morning that day, as he had promised to lend me Rs 20,000. If I had known about Sarabjit’s plan, I would never have accompanied him,” policemen quoted him as saying.

Police sources said CCTV footage showed that Honey, who is about six feet tall, had come to the court complex much before Akhilesh.

“Honey had entered the court complex at 10am carrying a bag. Akhilesh arrived at the court complex along with supporters at 11.08am. As soon as he spotted the gangster, Honey hid behind a pillar,” a police officer familiar with the CCTV footage claimed.

Sarabjit is battling for his life at Tata Main Hospital.