Goons out of cop cup - law-breakers in teams

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By IMRAN AHMED SIDDIQUI
  • Published 3.07.06
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The football tournament, close on the heels of the World Cup, was supposed to boost relations between the police and the public. But even before the whistle could be blown for the first kick-off, the red cards are out.

Organisers of Friendship Cup, Calcutta Police?s annual soccer event, are in a fix as some of the clubs keen on participating have criminals in their line-up.

?We organise the tournament every year. It is surprising to see the names of some people with criminal antecedents in the list of players this year,? joint commissioner (armed police) Zulfiquar Hasan told Metro. ?We have asked the clubs to drop the names.?

The tournament, a brainchild of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee for improving the police-public interface, gets under way on July 15.

The clubs interested in taking part were asked last month to apply to their local police stations and submit a list of players. Four to eight clubs under each police station sent in entries for the month-long competition.

?We received seven applications. A scrutiny revealed that five of the clubs had criminals in their teams. We immediately informed our superiors and the clubs were blacklisted. Later, we told the club officials to drop the criminals if they wanted to take part in the tournament,? said an officer of Garden Reach police station.

According to him, local rowdies Rehan, Munna, Aslam and Bechu were on the rolls of Garden Reach Welfare Association. Aslam and Bechu had been arrested last year in an attempt-to-murder case and are now out on bail, while Rehan and Munna are extortionists.

Snatchers Kalua, Raju and Kalam figured in a team list submitted to Sinthee police station. The trio has been arrested several times. Watgunge police, too, had a couple of criminals dropped from an applicant team.

The cops are clueless about the reason so many criminals are keen on playing ball. ?Football being the flavour of the season, perhaps they do not want to be left out,? remarked an officer.