Police pressed the panic button on Monday after a review of crime-ledgers revealed that around 450 goons, booked for “terrorising people with arms or for extortion”, are roaming free while their cases remain pending in lower courts for the past four years. Around 100 murder accused are also out on bail, with their cases dragging on for up to 10 years now.
City police chief Sujoy Chakraborty on Monday said these goons on bail have been involved in a series of criminal activities over the past two months. According to figures available with the police, 159 cases are pending trial since 1999, 124 since 2000 and 151 since 2001.
In a desperate move, Chakraborty met senior law department officers on Monday and urged them to expedite the process of setting up special courts to dispose of these pending cases.
“The Supreme Court has sanctioned five fast-track courts to try pending criminal cases. We have urged the law ministry to ensure that these courts are formed as quickly as possible,’’ clarified the police chief.
Elaborating on the problems faced by the force, deputy commissioner of police, detective department, Soumen Mitra, said: “Criminals like Boyra, Deepak Dutta, Kala Ghosh, Pervez, Nathulal Sharma, Nilu Chakraborty and Amar Mullick have been booked under various sections for murder, extortion, dacoity and robbery. But they are out on bail, as their cases are either pending trial or the hearing has been dragging on for years.’’
According to Mitra, hearings of 100 goons facing murder charges are held up “at various stages”, allowing them to carry on their crime run in the city and suburbs. “Amar Mullick, out on bail, is said to have masterminded a series of robberies and dacoities in Beniapukur, Entally and the surrounding areas last month, which left several persons injured. Detectives have so far failed to track him down,’’ Mitra added. Similarly, Boyra and Nilu are believed to be extorting money and terrorising people.
Sources in the lower courts and the high court blamed a section of the lawyers and cops for the delay in trials and hearings.
“The lawyers often seek adjournments on flimsy grounds,’’ said a senior criminal lawyer. “Investigators often do not follow up a case after submitting the chargesheet,’’ countered another.