Trouble broke out in Ekbalpore early on Tuesday, when residents attempted to snatch a criminal from police custody. The goon was arrested in a pre-dawn swoop. Police said the mob was all set to lynch the criminal, Sanjay Mukherjee.
The accused Mukherjee, alias Sanjaiya, had been on the run for over six months after his indictment in cases of multiple murders and extortion. On Tuesday, the angry residents gathered in front of Ekbalpore police station and attempted to lynch Sanjaiya. Later, they held a demonstration in front of the police station, alleging that Sanjaiya would let loose terror if he was released like other criminals recently.
“Sanjaiya was moving around in the area for the past few months. Despite complaining to the police, he was not rounded up. This time, however, they had to arrest him because of our continuous protest,” said Sheikh Akram, resident of Dent Mission Road.
Officials of the port division picked up Sanjaiya from a hideout in the Thakurpukur area. On a tip-off, a large force raided the hideout where Sanjaiya was holed up, ever since he was thrown out of Ekbalpore. They surrounded the house, giving Sanjaiya no chance to escape from the building.
Harman Preet Singh, deputy commissioner of police, port, said Sanjaiya is wanted in 16 cases, including murder, extortion and drug-peddling. “There are 12 cases against him at Ekbalpore police station itself, while four more are registered in his name at Watgunge police station,” said Singh.
Six months ago, when residents of the area protested his presence and threatened to hand him over to the police, Sanjaiya fled to Thakurpukur. He kept coming back to Ekbalpore to threaten the residents and traders.
According to the police, the goon, along with his associates, was targeting the homes of seven youths, who had opposed his presence in the area.
“He even organised an attack on some of the houses, in which 15 people, including two women, were injured. The right hand of a youth was blown off when the group started hurling bombs. Even the residences of police officers were not spared,” said sources.
Soon after the attack, Ekbalpore’s residents staged a series of demonstrations, which forced the local police to arrest Sanjaiya on Tuesday.
“He used to move in the area brandishing revolvers. But none of the officers of Ekbalpore police station dared to arrest him. On top of it, the local businessmen had to pay him hafta regularly. All along, the police were aware of his criminal activities,” said Akram.
Akbar Ali, another resident, who was among the demonstrators in front of the police station, said: “We have information that the local police would use him as their informer. But he took advantage of the situation and fell out with them. Finally, the police had to put him behind bars.”