On June 22, Manoj Bakkarwala, northern India’s notorious carjacker, let the Gurgaon Police know why he’s such a slippery customer. The 36-year-old, who is involved in more than 500 cases of vehicle theft across the NCR and several neighbouring states, gave three constables the slip while he was being taken to a Saket court for hearing.
This was Bakkarwala’s fourth dodge after being arrested by the Delhi Police special cell in May 2009. A week after the embarrassment, the Delhi Police put a cash prize of R50,000 on his head and his name on top of their list of serial dodgers.
“We have identified and prepared a list of 139 such desperate criminals involved in multiple heinous crimes or belonging to notorious gangs who may have a propensity to escape from custody,” said Ranjit Narayan, special commissioner of police (crime).
Since January, there have been eight such cases where criminals have managed to get away from police custody. The list, Narayan said, will offer a great deal of help to Tihar Jail authorities and the third battalion of the Delhi Police that escorts prisoners to and from the jail premises.
“It’s a chain reaction of sorts. Once they manage to escape, they are bound to become active once again – if not in Delhi, then in some adjoining state or the other. That’s why the concerned authorities should ensure that these high-risk criminals are under more watchful eyes – especially when on the move,” Narayan added. His worries are not unwarranted.
On March 21, Rehan Gaonwala, who is involved in at least 19 cases of heinous crimes, escaped from custody while being produced at the Tis Hazari Court Complex in north Delhi. Another gangster, Shamsher Singh, escaped while he was being taken to a Delhi court on June 6. Both of them were arrested later.
On June 9, the crime branch arrested gangster Vikram Rampal, 48 hours after he escaped from custody for the fourth time. On the same day, three senior police officers of the Rani Bagh station in northwest Delhi were suspended after a local criminal, identified as Ranjit, escaped.