Police escort arrested chairman of Saradha group, Sudipta Sen (R top), from a police van to the court in Kolkata. AFP photo
Saradha Group chairman Sudipta Sen’s flight to escape justice might well have succeeded if his need to watch television had not proved to be his Achilles’ heel.
Sen fled the city on April 10 and was finally apprehended in Sonamarg, a picturesque tourist resort in Kashmir, on April 23.
All the while, the fugitive and his accomplices kept one step ahead of the authorities by not staying at any hotel for more than three to four hours on average. And even these brief halts were born from Sen’s need to monitor the day-to-day developments in Bengal on TV, a fact which eventually led to his downfall.
“When we checked the hotels he stayed at during his escape, we found that he didn’t stay at even one for more than three to four hours at a time. After arresting him, when we asked him why this was so, he said he just wanted to get updates about the developments in Kolkata through TV news,” Rajeev Kumar, Bidhannagar city police commissioner, told HT.
An officer from the detective department said Sen had travelled for nearly 10 hours each day during this period, which made it extremely difficult for the cops to track his movements.
“Sen would never keep his vehicle on the premises of any hotel where he had to spend the night. But he did this when he checked into a hotel in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand. It was his biggest mistake, since a waiter noticed the Bengal number plates and grew suspicious,” the officer said.
“The waiter informed us that a man from Bengal had inquired about the shortest route to Kashmir from Rudrapur. When we showed him a photograph of Debjani Mukherjee, the waiter confirmed she was the same woman who had stayed at the hotel,” the officer revealed, adding, “The waiter also told us that he had seen Sen watching Bengali news channels in his room.”
It was the waiter’s tip that put the police on the right trail and pointed them in the direction that the suspect was heading.