Gangster Sheikh Binod was produced in Alipore court on Monday, a day after a South 24-Parganas police team netted him from Nandankanan, at Dankuni. Crowds thronged the court to catch a glimpse.
Alipore sub-divisional judicial magistrate Rabindranath Samanta remanded Binod and his associate, Rambabu Naskar, in police custody till November 7. Binod’s wife, Naseema, was remanded in judicial custody for the same number of days.
The crowd outside the courtroom waited for nearly five hours for a closer look at Binod. Most of them were not fully aware about his criminal activities and rumours did the rounds. Some took up the responsibility to brief the others about Binod’s list of crimes.
Binod and four associates, including Baitha Kima, arrested from the ground-floor flat in the Salt Lake house of former CBI joint director Upen Biswas, scaled the walls of Dum Dum Central jail and fled on September 25.
Binod has several cases of extortion and murder against him and operated mainly on the southern fringes of the city.
According to a senior police officer, Binod was to have been produced in court at 2 pm, but as other cases were being heard and the court compound was packed, police decided to bring him just in time for the hearing. “We brought him from Tiljala lock-up to Bhabani Bhavan a little before the designated time. When our officers signalled the time was right, we whisked the trio to court,” the officer said.
Binod, Naseema and Naskar were led to court amidst tight security, surrounded by half-a-dozen commandos and policewomen. Binod was not taken to the courtroom, but kept in the court lock-up through his 35-minute stay. The case came up for hearing at 3.20 pm, but was ‘passed over’ as Binod’s lawyer, Mrityunjoy Mishra, wanted to talk to his client prior to the proceedings. Ultimately, when the case came up for hearing at 3.40 pm, Mishra pleaded for medical attention for both Binod and his three-year-old son.
The investigating officer of the case, Amit Mukherjee, sought police custody for Binod and Naskar, which was granted by magistrate Samanta. Public prosecutor Swapan Chakraborty told the court that Binod and Naskar were charged under the Arms Act, dacoity and illegal possession of explosives, whereas Naseema was booked under the Arms Act only.
A senior officer of the district police, who was part of the team that ferreted Binod out of his hideout, recounted how Binod and his associates escaped from Dum Dum Central jail. “We got a lot of information while interrogating Binod. We also came to know the details of his life on the run. He fractured his left leg jumping off the jail wall and had to be helped by his mates to reach the private car that Chaitanya Pal, the plumber, had hired for their escape. They travelled to Salt Lake and then hired a taxi to Bagha Jatin, from where they took a local train and reached Joynagar,” the officer said.
Binod was treated in a hospital at Dankuni for the fracture several times. He would also go on regular outings in his car and keep shifting base to evade arrest. The officer admitted that men with “political links” tipped off the police and helped them nab Binod.
Following his arrest on Sunday night, the district police raided several houses in the Sonarpur, Tiljala and Baruipur areas. A few youths, suspected to be Binod’s associates, were detained during the nightlong raid for questioning.