//`Crime Busters' squad set up in Thiruvananthapuram City

`Crime Busters' squad set up in Thiruvananthapuram City

To crack down on criminal gangs

# Squad members to be deployed in plainclothes

# To focus on five most active and 35 less active gangs in the city
# Superior officers to closely monitor the actions of the squad members

Thiruvananthapuram: The police have formed a special squad to crack down on criminal gangs that profit from extra-legal interference in civil and financial disputes, muscle-for-money operations and extortion in the city.

City Police Commissioner Manoj Abraham said the new squad will be deployed in plainclothes and also as undercover operatives to collect intelligence on goonda gangs. The information collected by the squad will be used for creating detailed dossiers on gang leaders on the lines of the Mumbai city police. The police will also be using electronic snooping devices for collecting intelligence on criminal activities.

The police will create "mafia dossiers" on people who harbour criminals, give them legal aid and use their services for settling disputes.

The Commissioner said the "Crime Busters" will initially focus on five "most active" gangs in the city. Another "less active" 35 gangs and their leaders are also under police surveillance.

The police will seek the help of the Income Tax department for collecting information on the financial transactions and bank accounts of gang leaders.

The police will question people suspected of having links with gang leaders and record their statements, even if they are not directly involved in any crime.

The Commissioner said such a step was necessary now in the interest of maintaining public peace.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Control Room, S. Ramesh Babu will monitor the day-to-day functioning of the "Crime Busters." The Commissioner will hold weekly meetings to supervise the functioning of the squad.

Mr. Manoj said that certain practices have been put in place to ensure that members of the squad do not get into any corrupt nexus with criminal elements.

As part of their job profile, squad members are required to cultivate sources among illegal elements in society.

In the future, superior officers will closely monitor the actions of the special squad.

Members of the squad will be required to give detailed reports about their daily activities, including the persons they have met and also the information they have collected. Such daily "debriefings and assignments" are being put in place to ensure "zero favouritism" on the part of the squad while dealing with criminal elements.

There are 1,270 persons on the "active criminal" list of the city police. Of this 36 are categorised as "violent criminals" running extortion rackets and having musclemen for hire.

The list, which is yet to be updated, includes at least 10 gang leaders who are responsible for murders and armed attacks.