Cuttack: Three missed golden hours following the escape of notorious gangster SK Hyder cost dearly to the Odisha police, Twin City Police Commissioner Saumendra Priyadarshi said on Friday.
The delay in the intimation about the gangster’s escape from a cabin at the SCB medical college in Cuttack on April 10 was largely on account of the fact that the jail staff guarding the place had been ‘deceived’ by the gangster, the commissioner reasoned.
Nevertheless, Hyder’s arrest from Sangareddy district in Telangana by a team of Commissionerate Police yesterday was as dramatic as his escape from the hospital where he had been ‘referred’ for treatment from his confinement in a jail in Sambalpur last month.
“Hyder managed to escape from SCB after deceiving the guard at around 4 – 4:30 pm of April 10. There was a delay of about three hours by the time we got information about his escape from SCB. Due to this time-gap, Hyder was able to cross the State’s border,” said Priyadarshi.
Giving details about the gangster’s escape, Priyadarshi said Hyder fled on a motorcycle from the hospital campus and thereafter travelled to Hyderabad via Andhra Pradesh in a car. “He was not carrying any weapon when we caught hold of him,” he said.
The Police Operation To Capture Fleeing Hyder
Some of the trusted hands of the Twin City police huddled into an emergency meeting to spread a dragnet across states to close in on the fleeing gangster, Priyadarshi said.
Needless to say intuition and experience came handy for the veterans who had once hounded down the gangster from a hideout in far off Nagpur a decade back. “We presumed he would follow the familiar path,” Priyadarshi said. They proved correct 120 hours later.
The operation was then set into motion. Special teams fanned out to West Bengal, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Telangana to collect clues from various toll plazas and inter-state check points, sources in the commisssionerate police said.
Separate teams at the headquarters stepped up technical surveillance to track the gangster’s movement from the information gathered by field operatives and informers. The technical investigation was carried out under the supervision of DCP Cuttack, Prateek Singh.
Several old contacts of the gangster were identified and grilled to ferret out further information.
The turning point came when Hyder’s close aide Sallu alias Yakub Khan surrendered before the Cuttack police on April 12. Sallu, sources said, started singing during interrogation and gave the investigators what they wanted; clues and leads about Hyder’s escape plan.
Earlier on April 11, the Commissionerate Police got credible inputs regarding the movement of Hyder in Telangana. “Immediately one team was despatched to the southern state and another team joined the next day,” Priyadarshi said.
The teams were led by the Inspectors-in-charge of Badambadi and Chauliaganj police stations, respectively. “They got the required assistance from the local police,” he added.
Meanwhile, more information began flooding in from the technical team. “From technical surveillance and CCTV inputs, we learnt Hyder had escaped in a car. That helped us to close in on Hyder’s movements. After getting credible inputs from field operatives that Hyder was riding pillion on a motorcycle, one of our teams managed to intercept the vehicle and nabbed him at around 6:30 pm yesterday,” said Priyadarshi.
Priyadarshi said the next task before the police is to ascertain how Hyder escaped and identify the persons who helped him in the plan. “We are interrogating seven persons in this connection,” he said.
He said more information about the diabolic escape plan and the abettors would be revealed once the police subjected the gangster to sustained interrogation after obtaining his custody.