Cuttack: Police are worried that extortion rackets might return to haunt traders in the city with a new crop of gangsters making their presence felt in several areas. The cops suspect a small gang is trying to make its way to revive extortion and organised crime that had subsided following the arrest of the Dhal Samant brothers in January last year. The prime suspect at the moment is called Md Shakil who was last tracked around a week ago, but managed to give the police a slip. Earlier, the Dhal Samant brothers reigned over the extortion and crime syndicates in the city. After their arrest, the police had systematically gone about arresting most of their associates.
Under a special operation, the cops had also tracked down and arrested several associates of Kendrapada-based gangster Tito, alias Usman Ali, to prevent him from teaming up with small criminals’ groups and keep organised crime alive in the city.The police had arrested more than 50 criminals in a span of six months last year and practically weeded out organised crime such as extortion that targeted businessmen and contractors. However, reports of extortion calls are once again reaching the police. A police officer said: “We are receiving complaints as well as information about extortion calls and the criminals. We are trying to nab the criminals causing such problems in various parts of the city.” “A special squad is already trying to track down Md Shakil, who had become active following his release from jail a few months ago,” he said. After his release, Shakil, a former member of the Tito gang, had teamed up with another gangster, Sk Babu, and started their own gang. The two had taken resort to bombings and firings while starting their extortion racket. After getting a tip-off, the special squad had last tracked him to Hadiapatha on the embankments of the Mahanadi river on April 17 when he was making extortion calls to some businessmen. Though the special squad managed to capture Sk Babu after shooting him in the leg, Md Shakil managed to flee. The police have taken Sk Babu into custody on Tuesday after his discharge from the hospital where he was undergoing treatment for the bullet injury on his right thigh. “Sk Babu is a historysheeter accused in a series of crimes. We will also nab Md Shakil shortly,” said Cuttack deputy commissioner of police Sanjiv Arora. On Wednesday, the cops had arrested Gyana Ranjan Bastia, an associate of Md Shakil, in a bid to get more clues about the gangster’s operations and whereabouts.]]>