Once a feared extremist and a key plotter of arguably the biggest terror attack in the city, Aftab Ansari now appears to have turned a saviour in lieu of money.
The brain behind the terror strike on the American Center on January 22, 2002 and a death row convict doing time at Alipore Central jail since 2005, Ansari has reportedly committed himself to protecting the life of a once fellow inmate.
Zulkar Nayeem, a fellow inmate who had been nabbed in Bihar for alleged involvement in a scuffle in the Tiljala police station area, has reportedly fed protection money to the American Center accused in the wake of a perceived threat to his life. Nayeem had been nabbed by a team of the detective department of the city police and has been out on bail since doing a brief time at the correctional.
“We have information on the protection money to Ansari and are pursuing the matter,” an officer of the detective department told HT.
A promoter operating in the Tiljala area, Nayeem got embroiled in a tussle with a top city-based politician over a building project a couple of months back. With the tussle heating up, a complaint against Nayeem was moved at the Tiljala police station.
However, he got word of the police complaint and went underground. However, that was before sleuths from the detective department tracked him down in Bihar and brought him to the city. He was remanded in judicial custody and was lodged at the Alipore correctional about a month and a half back.
However, even as he was doing jail time, the leader with whom he had fallen out over the building project, sent a gang of henchmen after him in jail. The toughs reportedly beat him up badly.
“He sustained severe injuries to his waist and had to undergo treatment,” said an officer of the detective department requesting anonymity.
The officer said the leader roped in Sheikh Binod, a known strongman with several pending cases of murder and extortion against his name and lodged in the Alipore correctional at the time, to bash Nayeem up behind bars.
“Binod was paid Rs. 50,000 for the bash-up job. And now Nayeem has got word that the leader has hired some goons, who are inmates at the correctional, for a fresh assault on him,” the officer told HT.
Nayeem then got in touch with the American Center accused and urged him to ensure his protection in jail, said the officer. “After hearing his case, Ansari agreed to offer him protection but only if he would pay for it,” the sleuth said.
The protection money was handed over to an Ansari aide outside jail, said police sources. However, the sleuths have yet to land any leads on the aide.