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No trace of gangster on the run

india Updated: Oct 15, 2006 00:27 IST

Cops haven’t even pic of man held for a year

YET ANOTHER gangster put a question mark on the integrity and efficiency of the Lucknow police. A history-sheeter of Cantonment police stations and lodged in Lucknow jail for executing the most sensational killings of three rivals in 2005, Saleem, is giving sleepless nights to police officials since he escaped from police custody on October 10.

In 2004, it was Vijay Menon, who escaped from outside the court after shooting at a passers-by and injuring the policemen escorting him. Menon, however, was gunned down later in a police encounter in the city.

The police, making tall claims about hectic efforts to find Saleem, have yet to arrange even a photograph of the gangster.

The gangster had escaped with another criminal Adarsh Awasthi when the duo was brought to attend hearing in their respective cases in the court that day.

Saleem belongs to Sadar locality in Cantonment and he is also a history-sheeter registered in the records of the local police station. But, none of the policemen, including SHO Javed Khan, have details about Saleem’s close aides and the possible hideouts.

About 20 cases, including five murders, attempt to murder and sensational loots, are pending against Saleem at Cantonment, Husainganj, Wazirganj and Hasanganj police stations. 

Saleem, along with his brothers, Rustam and Sohrab and other aides created panic in the city when they knocked off three of their rivals at three different but busy places in the city on November 3. The daring killers had alerted then SSP Ashutosh Pandey about the killings 10 minutes before swinging into action.

The killers, along with their wives, were nabbed on November 21 later from a residential complex in Wazirganj. 

Significantly, Saleem had attacked his rivals on chaand raat (eve of Eid) last year and this time too he escaped from the court two weeks before the same festival.

After the arrest of Saleem, all police officials concerned had strongly recommended keeping close watch on his activities Saleem even when he was behind the bars, fearing that he could orchestrate killing of more rivals.

It was two weeks back only when Saleem and Rustam had snatched service rifles of the escorting policemen and had chased their rivals soon after seeing them on the court premises.

Despite all such information, police officials did not make tight security arrangement for escorting Saleem to the court. The two policemen, who supposedly helped Saleem and Adarsh Awasthi flee the scene, were roaming scot-free too.