Several investigation agencies focussed their scanners on north Calcutta on Monday, following information provided by the 17-member gang arrested last week from a hotel in Barasat on charges of having links with a terrorist organisation. Officials from various agencies, including the special branch and detective department, carried out raids in the Bagbazar and Shyambazar areas, in a hunt for the group’s city-based operatives.
“The raid was conducted based on information provided by the Intelligence Bureau of North 24-Parganas. We have traced calls to three telephone booths and are monitoring the outgoing calls,” said an officer of the special branch.
The police were tipped off about two or three persons in north Calcutta operating the 17-member gang, including two women. “The arrested gangsters worked as informers of a militant organisation. They were paid by its Calcutta-based operatives. We have identified one of them as Siddique,” said a police officer, adding: “Most of the gang members pretended to be daily wage-earners. They sold flowers in Burrabazar, Posta, Rashbehari market and Howrah market.”
The investigators of North 24-Parganas Intelligence Bureau said that in the course of interrogation, the gang members confessed to building up an information network in and around the city. “They supplied information to the terrorists through the network to help them in their criminal activities,” said an intelligence officer.
“We received specific information from intelligence officers that the gang had links with Lashkar-e-Toiba. Accordingly, we alerted the entire administration, the police and the district intelligence bureau,” said district magistrate H.K. Dwivedi.
The police said that among those arrested, Bhura Lal, Nather Lal, Jhunjhunwala, Pritam Singh and Koram Singh were the key players in the outfit’s information network. “Pritam, Koram and Nather used to pose as flower vendors and travelled across the city and the districts to recruit informants. Pritam had connections in the flower markets of Posta, Howrah, New Market and Hazra,” an intelligence officer added.