KOCHI: Even though the police have been conducting special drives against criminal gangs, the case related to the suicide of 55-year-old K M Vasudevan in Varapuzha and the consequential alleged custodial death of Sreejith, 26, a native of Devaswompadam have put the spotlight back on the fact that the criminal gangs are active in the district. A 14-member gang attacked the house of Vasudevan and the next day he took the extreme step due to mental agony.
The Varapuzha episode depicted that gangs having political support are rearing their ugly heads again. The number of assault cases involving gangs reported a rise in the district, according to the police officers. Last year, the police recommended action against 12 persons under KAAPA before the District Administration. Following this, the District Collector ordered the detention of four persons.
In 2018, so far the order for detention was issued against a person, said officers.While the police chiefs of Ernakulam City and Ernakulam Rural can recommend action under KAAPA, the power to order the detention of criminals is vested with the District Collector who is also the executive magistrate. According to a top officer, almost all gangs have political backing. Hence the police could not initiate stringent action against them.
However, Kochi City Police Commissioner M P Dinesh said the city police was conducting routine checks against goonda menace. “The number of cases related to the goonda activities witnessed a sharp decline in Kochi city. Besides, the number of recommendations to issue detention order under KAAPA also is meagre in the city,” he cited.
Earlier, the police launched a special drive, Operation Goonda, in order to check the rising crime rate last year. The drive classified criminals into three categories - hardcore, active and inactive - based on the intensity of the crimes committed.
Gangsters on prowl
The Varapuzha episode depicted that gangs having political support are rearing their ugly heads again. The number of assault cases involving gangs reported a rise in the district, according to the police officers.