Suspended constable Tarak Das fled the city after his fifth alleged assault in three years, police said on Tuesday after fruitless overnight raids in search of him.
Officers on the trail of the rougue cop suspect Das — facing two attempt-to-murder and three other criminal charges — was in a “remote part” of a district adjoining the city early on Tuesday.
Officers of the detective department’s anti-rowdy squad, accompanied by some of Das’s aides, raided 11 hideouts in the Patuli, Garfa and Jadavpur areas.
“We failed to trace Das during the nightlong raid. He did not go to any of these places in the past 24 hours. He fled the city possibly because he realised that we are closing in on him and he will not be able to evade arrest,” said an officer, who is part of the raiding team.
“He switched on one of his cell phones for a few minutes on Monday night. The service provider’s tower that received signals from the handset was on the city’s outskirts. He did not make or receive any call during the period. It appears he wanted to check text messages. A team has been sent to the place where Das had switched on his phone,” said an officer.
Several residents of Patuli said they had seen Das roaming around on Sunday morning, before police started a hunt for him.
The previous night Das and his aides had allegedly assaulted a few Trinamul activists — the tainted cop himself is said to be a sympathiser of the ruling party — in front of several people in Baghajatin, near Patuli.
His men allegedly beat up the activists again on Sunday morning after they spoke to journalists against the cop.
“The Trinamul activists had lodged a complaint on Saturday night. Had the cops started a search immediately after getting the complaint, Das would have been behind bars by now,” said a Patuli resident who had seen Das in the locality on Sunday morning.
The police said the activists had been assaulted because they were leading a movement against Das’s alleged attempts to fill up ponds in the area and extort money from realtors and traders.
A Trinamul activist in Patuli said party leaders have asked them not to help Das. “Instead, we have been asked to pass on information of his whereabouts to the police.”
Four departmental queries are pending against Das, who was suspended twice in three months last year. He was arrested twice on charges of assault but did not have to stay in custody for long.