VISAKHAPATNAM: As the Steel City grows by leaps and bounds, the rise in the number of rowdy-sheeters over the last few years has had citizens and police equally worried. According to the CM Dashboard, there are as many as 927 history-sheeters in Visakhapatnam city alone. Though there are no recent instances of the involvement of rowdy-sheeters directly in crimes, cops worry over their developing links with inter-state gangs.
Police suspect that some rowdy-sheeters are establishing links with inter-state gangs from Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Mahatrashtra and Uttar Pradesh, to procure arms. A police officer, on condition of anonymity, said the Darapalem dacoity on July 11 had tell-tale signs of the involvement of inter-state gangs. They spoke in hindi. He opined they could not have done it without help from local criminal elements. “At present, the link is being established. There were several cases, where the local rowdy-sheeters had gone to such gangs to procure arms. So there are possibilities of locals joining hands with inter-state gangs”, he said.
In September last year, the Visakhapatnam police were shocked when they came across instances of inter-state gangs carrying out contract killings in the city. A case in point is the murder of a city-based oil merchant Thota Ramana alias Oil Ramu by contract killers. Sources said the gang had taken `15 lakh to carry out the murder.
The sources said there were about five gang attacks and murders in the last three years. “There are around five prominent gangs (Fishing Harbour, Marripalem, Old Town and a few other areas) in the city that are involved in activities such as extortion, blackmail, contract killings, thefts, land grabbing and executing contract threats. However, as of now, the gangs are keeping a low profile with the elimination of their heads”, the sources explained.
A senior police officer from the City Task Force police opined that “most of the gangs are formed in the central jail, which is fast becoming a place for them to befriend like-minded people and plan crimes. There are a number of cases, where a petty offender went to jail, was befriended by some other criminals, developed contacts, and after release, committed crimes,” he added. Agreeing with him, another senior officer said jail-based monitoring system has been on track to nab them.
“In July, the CTF nabbed one criminal from Telangana, Mohammed Syeed Ali. He was sent to jail in several cases and was released in May 2016 and during that period, he came in contact with Khaimool, a native of West Bengal, who was arrested in a counterfeit currency racket case. These two became friends and Ali, after release, went to West Bengal. He procured fake currency from Khaimool’s contacts. With our tracking system, we nabbed him at the Visakhapatnam railway station”, he explained.