Biker gang member? Delhi cops can’t tell

July 27th, 2008 - 12:31 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, July 27 (IANS) Delhi Police may claim that serious efforts are on to catch members of a biker gang involved in at least five shootings here this month, but it seems few policemen can actually identify these criminals who have grabbed media headlines in recent weeks by their photographs. When this IANS reporter flashed pictures of these gang members led by Om Prakash alias Bunty to constables and other policemen deployed on the city roads, it drew a blank response.

“I do not know who this man is,” was the answer of a head constable posted with a Police Control Room (PCR) van, one of the many posted across neighbourhoods in the capital to check crime.

When told that the man in the photo was a member of the biker gang, he snapped: “There are so many criminals operating in the capital, it is not possible for us to remember their faces.”

So if any of the five gang-members were to pass him by, in all likelihood he wouldn’t know even though the biker gang has been striking with regularity in south and east Delhi.

City police chief Y.S. Dadwal, addressing a tightly packed media conference a few days ago, had said officials from all of Delhi’s 10 police districts, sleuths of the crime branch and the special cell were on hot pursuit of these criminals and arrests would be made soon.

Dadwal even announced a reward of Rs.250,000 for people who could lead to the arrests. But his own force doesn’t seem to be alert enough.

A constable posted in west Delhi who spoke to IANS on condition of anonymity candidly said his duty was to maintain law and order in the area and not to look out for hardcore criminals.

“It is the job of the Crime Branch and Special Cell to apprehend such hardcore criminals. They have strong intelligence inputs about them. As the crime has not happened in our area, we are not bothered,” the constable said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (PCR) Ajay Kumar, however, said all the officers deployed with PCR vans had been properly briefed about the gang.

“This is the first time we have provided photographs of the members of a gang to officers at PCR vans. They have been briefed properly and asked to remain more vigilant. If there are some policemen claiming they do not have pictures or cannot identify them, it a lapse on their part,” Kumar added.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Rajesh Kumar said the entire Delhi Police was working to nab the biker gang.

“We have released their posters. It is not possible that cops are not aware of it. Each and every policeman in all the police stations are properly briefed about the gang,” he said.

“But since you have brought this to my notice, I am directing my deputy commissioners to check about this,” Kumar told IANS.

The ignorance of policemen could prove costly, as the gang has been involved in five shootings, killing at least four people.

The gang first made news July 5 when its members gunned down property dealer Sonu, 25, outside his Sangam Vihar residence.

Police said the gang killed two friends - Ashneet Singh, 24, and Harjeet Singh, 26 - at Amar Colony near Lajpat Nagar nearly two weeks ago. Barely a few minutes later they shot dead Sanjeev Suri, 30, near the Andrews Ganj crossing when one of the stolen bikes ran out of fuel.

The very next day the same members of the ‘Bunty gang’ shot Naresh and Pawan, both around 30, in south Delhi’s Dakshinpuri area.

Officials also suspect their role in the robberies at two shops in east Delhi. Though there has been a spurt in incidents of firing involving motorcycle borne assailants in other parts of the capital, officers have denied the role of the biker gang in them.

“Other incidents cannot be linked with biker gangs. Though the assailants were on motorbikes and the modus operandi was also similar, we cannot say the same biker gang was involved in them. It would only be cleared once they are arrested,” said a senior police officer.

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