The probe into the murder of 13-year-old boy Maaz Ahmed has brought to fore the tainted past of the prime accused, absconding police inspector Sanjai Rai. Sources in the police department say Rai was literally running a gang of criminals, providing them patronage and using them to commit murder, loot, kidnapping, extortion and even frame innocents in criminal cases.
“Only seven months ago, Rai’s name had surfaced in a Delhi kidnapping case. A team from Delhi’s Sagarpur police station also came to Lucknow search for him, but Rai somehow managed to get his name out of the probe,” said a senior cop supervising the Maaz murder investigation. He said the facts coming about the accused inspector are startling. He had at least eight to nine criminals on his payrolls, the cop added. He said Rai’s involvement had also surfaced in a loot of Rs 12 lakh from a businessman in Fatehpur, when he was posted there before being transferred to Lucknow in 2007. Again, however, Rai managed to get his name dropped from the probe.
The top cop also said Rai had falsely implicated one BSNL SIM cards agency owner of Hazratganj in the case of supplying pre-activated SIM cards to naxalites in May 2012. He said Rai implicated the agency owner to support his aide Gulzar, who worked at the agency. He said Rai was mounting pressure on the owner to take Gulzar on job again and implicated him when he refused.
The owner was later found to be innocent during the probe and the case was closed but Rai’s role did not surface. Another source in the police department revealed, “Rai had distributed at least half a dozen stolen vehicles to his acquaintances. He himself used to travel in a stolen Indica car.”
During his posting as Ghazipur police station incharge, Rai illegally detained the manager of Sriram Survey Company and released him only after taking away his Honda Civic car. He later handed over the car to and aide staying on Rae Bareli road, said the source. He also revealed that Rai’s closest aide, Rinku Shukla, who frequently travels with him, is a listed vehicle lifter of Gomti Nagar. The source said, “Rai had distributed stolen vehicles to many friends and used them himself. He used to deposit the stolen vehicles at police stations as vehicles found abandoned, after using them for sometime”.
His domestic help Ram Babu alias Chotu also had a criminal background and allegedly played a vital role in arranging hired shooters for the Maaz murder in Indira Nagar on May 29.