The city sessions court on Monday convicted three persons in a dacoity case masterminded by Abdul Wajed Akunji — who died during the trial — and sentenced them to life imprisonment.
In the same case, the court has sentenced Akunji’s brother to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 50,000 on each of the sentenced, with two years’ imprisonment in default.
The detective department had arrested Akunji, mastermind of a string of dacoities in 1997, and his associates in February 1998, in connection with a dacoity at a CESC cash office on Mahatma Gandhi Road. The gang had made off with Rs 26 lakh at gunpoint.
Deputy commissioner Soumen Mitra of the detective department said Shanti Chatterjee, deputy chief cashier of the CESC office, had lodged a complaint, saying a gang of eight men had entered the office, beat up a security guard and looted the money on November 7, 1997. “The gangsters, led by Akunji, also opened fire while fleeing. As a result, a pedestrian suffered bullet injuries,” Mitra added.
Sleuths of the dacoity wing started a probe. On February 2, 1998, they had received a tip-off that Akunji and his accomplices took refuge in a house on Hemanta Bose Road, in the Dum Dum police station area. “When officers reached the spot, the dacoits opened fire. Our men retaliated. Akunji and associate Manoj Singh received gunshot injuries in the crossfire. We arrested Akunji and Singh and recovered Rs 11.13 lakh, five revolvers and 44 rounds of ammunition from the house,” recalled deputy commissioner Mitra. Sub-inspector Manoj Das was injured in the encounter.
After interrogating Akunji, detectives netted two asociates, Abdul Hai Gayen and Jayanta Roy, from Bhangore. “His brother, Hazi Md. Abdul Kader Akunji, was rounded up from his Sandeshkhali residence and we recovered Rs 5 lakh in the swoop,” added Mitra.
During the trial, Akunji was taken ill and died at Alipore Central Jail. “On Monday, third bench judge of the city sessions court Tapas Roy sentenced Singh, Gayen and Roy to life imprisonment, while Akunji’s brother was given 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment,” said Mitra. The convicts were sent to Alipore jail under strict police vigil.