Cop who captured Kasab hurt chasing thugs



Mumbai: Mangesh Naik, a Mumbai police head constable, never leaves a task half done. Not even when it leaves him bleeding profusely. The 49-year-old, who, along with his team, was awarded for capturing 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab, showed around on Saturday midnight the stuff that heroes are made of when he chased two thugs for close to a kilometre in Malad (W) despite being assaulted by them.

Around 11.30 pm on Saturday, Naik and a fellow constable, Sharad Lavan, were patrolling Malad (W) when at least five men working at a nearby eatery complained to them about being beaten up by a gang of men. A few metres ahead, they closed in on two men of the gang, Sandesh Kadam, 23, and Feroz Shaikh, 20. Just as they were about to catch the youth, Naik felt a heavy blow on the back of his head. “As soon as I caught my head instinctively, the two tried to escape from our clutches and began to run. Taking advantage of the darkness, a third unidentified man from the gang struck me on the back of my head with a big stone, nearly the size of a cricket ball,” recalls the head constable.

Refusing to give up, a bleeding Naik and Lavan chased the two for about 1km till a wireless police van intercepted the attackers.

Naik was immediately rushed to Surana Hospital in Malad, where he was treated for bleeding in the occipital (rear) region of the skull. “Fortunately, his wound was not very deep and the doctors discharged him on Sunday,” says an on-duty doctor at the hospital.

That Naik is no stranger to such acts of bravado becomes obvious as one walks into his house in the police headquarters in Kandivli. A neat file of trophies, including the coveted President’s gallantry medal and the Maharashtra director general of police’s insignia for the bravery shown in nabbing Kasab and co-attacker Abu Ismail, who was shot dead, holds the pride of place on a wooden shelf there.

Naik recalls that after Kasab shot dead fellow constable Tukaram Ombale that fateful night, he overpowered him and held his hands behind his back. The team of policemen then beat Kasab up till he passed out.

Kadam and Shaikh were produced before a holiday court on Sunday, which remanded them in police custody till October 31.

DNA