Sheikh Binod is penniless and on the run, but has not been able to flee the country.
The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), probing the escape of five convicts from the high-security Dum Dum Central jail on September 25, has information about Binod and his aides being on the move in the neighbouring districts of Howrah and North 24-Parganas for the past 15-20 days.
“We have reason to believe that Binod has not been able to leave the country. We have some leads on his whereabouts, which we are working on,” said Raj Kanojia, deputy inspector-general of police (CID), on Friday.
Investigations revealed that after escaping from Dum Dum jail, the convicts shifted from one safe house to another in Salt Lake and Howrah.
The CID also believes that Baitha Kima, arrested for drug-trafficking from a flat he rented at the premises of former CBI joint director Upen Biswas, is in a “safe house” in a neighbouring district and has not been able to flee. “The arrest of Chaitanya Pal has been a big setback for them,” said Kanojia.
Investigators believe that Binod, who had used Pal’s links to escape from prison, plans to seek Pal’s help again to flee the country. After the jailbreak, Binod took a car supplied by Deepak Guin, Pal’s friend, and used Pal to get in touch with his gang members.
On Thursday, the CID mounted raids across the city, Howrah and North 24-Parganas, in the “safe houses” where Binod and his gang have holed up. “Binod was in contact with Pal even a few days before we picked him up from Guma on Tuesday. He told Pal that Baitha was still under his protection,” said a senior CID officer.
The sleuths interrogated Pal and Dum Dum jail’s former chief warder Ramji Singh on Thursday. Officers said they had been keeping an eye on Singh ever since the jailbreak. The needle of suspicion pointed towards the jail staff because of their “ignorance” about the 14-ft ladder that was placed on the boundary wall at least 18 hours before the jailbreak. During the escape, all other prisoners were kept busy and not allowed to go anywhere near the ladder.