Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Police, which is under tremendous pressure to arrest those involved in the Bulandshahr gang-rape case, has picked up 11 suspected members of the Saleem Bawaria gang for questioning in connection with the horrific incident.
According to reports, those picked up by the police are believed to be closely associated with the kingpin of the Bawaria gang. Sources claim that these suspects were picked on the basis of information that they had been in Kithore area of Meerut before proceeding to Bulandshahr.
The arrested Bawaria gang members were under electronic surveillance for as long as five months for their alleged involvement in other crimes, The Hindu quoted a senior police official as saying.
Though the UP Police is tight-lipped about the prime suspect and head of the gang Saleem Bawaria, it is believed to be very close to nabbing him anytime now.
“A lot of people were picked up for questioning about the incident. We are tracing the previous history and involvement of all the suspects. Teams are searching for Saleem but giving any time frame for his arrest would not be possible,” Anees Ahmed Ansari, Senior Superintendent of Police, Bulandshahr, had said.
According to Ansari, seven teams of the UP Police and Special Task Force are involved in the operation to arrest Saleem and raided his possible hideouts in Moradabad, Rajasthan and Haryana.
The police teams are trying to find him in areas as far as Bokaro Steel Plant in Jharkhand. Searches are also underway in tribal settlements in Madhya Pradesh, UP border and even Bihar.
“Twenty five members of the gang attended a meeting at Saleem Bawariya’s house recently. The two members of the gang who attended the meeting - Shahwaiz Raisuddin of Sutari village in Bulandshahr and Jabar Singh of Gautam Budh Nagar - were arrested by the police as accused in the gang rape case,” a police official said.
The police got to know about the meeting by interrogating Jabar Singh’s wife who is related to Saleem Bawariya.
Police had arrested Singh and his wife from Rabupura village in Gautam Buddh Nagar.
“We have got information that many members of the Saleem Bawariya gang are active in Bulandshahr and have relatives in the district. Shahwaiz who is one of the three accused arrested so far in connection with the case, is a resident of Hapur and an old associate of Saleem,” the official said.
“Singh’s wife told the police that the Bawariya gang worked in an organised way. They operate in four groups and they meet after every five or six months, generally at Saleem’s place. In each of these meetings, all the four groups of the gang are given a target which they are supposed to achieve till they meet again,” said the official.
Bawariya gang members escape the police net because they have different names such as ‘saasi’, ‘mewaiti’, ‘ghumantu’, ‘kangra’ and ‘bhaatu.’