One of jailed gangster Akhilesh Singh’s close aides, Harish Singh, was nabbed and arrested in a bizarre manner from the premises of Jamshedpur Notified Area Committee (JNAC) office in Sakchi late on Thursday evening, baring the thriving culture of rangdari or extortion that grips the city.
Since Thursday afternoon, an armed Harish and four of his aides had been sizing up contractors submitting their bids for various civic tenders worth Rs 12 crore and intimidating them into coughing up 10 per cent of the contract sum in the event of their bagging the jobs.
He was bullying a contractor when the police, dressed in plain clothes, nabbed him around 8.30pm. A loaded revolver was also found on his person. His aides, however, managed to escape.
After a round of interrogation at Sakchi police station, the police, led by East Singhbhum SSP Amol V. Homkar called a news meet to inform about Harish’s arrest. He was sent to Ghaghidih Central Jail in judicial custody on Friday where his mentor Akhilesh is also cooling his heels at present.
“Harish and four of his associates had been intimidating contractors who had gathered for the JNAC tender on Thursday afternoon for a sizeable cut of 10 per cent. He was in fact threatening the seventh contractor when he was hauled up. The civic body is processing tenders for different jobs worth over Rs 12 crore, which Harish saw as a happy hunting ground for victims,” SSP Homkar said.
“We anticipated the presence of goons during the tender process and had deployed plainclothes policemen at the JNAC office for this very reason,” the SSP said.
Homkar added that Harish divulged the names of his four associates with him at the JNAC office as well as his links with Akhilesh during his interrogation at Sakchi thana.
Hailing from Bhojpur, Bihar, Harish is wanted in a number of criminal cases, including extortion and the supply of arms to criminals in Jharkhand from Bihar.
Police also registered a case under Section of 25 (B) of Arms Act against Harish before sending him to judicial custody.
JNAC special officer Deepak Sahay said they had issued tenders for 125 jobs worth over Rs 12 crore. “Over 100 contractors participated in the tender process, which will be finalised before August 14. We will hold a tender committee meeting chaired by East Singhbhum DC Amitabh Kaushal next week before finalising tenders,” Sahay said.