Bhopal, Oct 24: With the arrest of 18 persons, including two women, the city police have busted a gang of Bangladeshi dacoits who operated in Madhya Pradesh and some other states.
Its kingpin Fatima orchestrated the gang from Delhi. After the dacoities, jewellery and other material was converted into cash through the hawala alternative remittance system and dispatched to Bangladesh.
Jewellery worth lakhs, other material and more than Rs 80,000 were seized.
Deputy Inspector-General (Bhopal Range) Anuradha Shankar and Superintendent of Police Anant Kumar Singh told reporters here today that one of the accused was apprehended at Dewas, three in the state capital and the rest at Delhi.
''After obtaining clues, Bhopal Police began an operation with cooperaton from Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh Police. About 25,000 telephone numbers were traced and hundreds of persons questioned,'' Ms Shankar said.
Concrete details were obtained of about five members who are in Bangladesh and steps are being taken for extradition. A few of the accused were convicted earlier for unauthorised residence in India and involvement in crime. They had subsequently been handed over to the Bangladeshi government.
Ms Shankar said that Fatima was earlier arrested at Delhi in 2003 along with eight accomplices for five dacoities in Nand Nagri locality. Her brothers Nepali and Khokhan are serving time in Tihar Jail for murder and dacoity. Fatima's husband Farooq is also serving a 20-year term. ''Those nabbed in Bhopal confessed to having committed a dozen crimes -- six dacoities and a loot in Bhopal, three in Ujjain, one each at Indore and Dewas,'' the officer added.
The modus operandi was that two gang members posed as a couple, began living as tenants in a flat and chose their target. Just before they struck, the other members hid in empty flats or parks.
''The female members were used in conveying the material. The gang's activities remained concealed for a long time as they never used any local means of communication. After every crime, the gang moved to Bangladesh for a while,'' said Mr Singh.
A success was scored when Fatima and Jaleel were arrested by the Bhopal Police at Delhi Railway Station.
''In view of dacoities here and in some other parts of the state, Director-General of Police Anand Rao Pawar had a meeting with senior officers and it came to light that the modus operandi was similar,'' the superintendent said.
Clear indications of Bangladeshis' involvement emerged and it was found that more than 15 such organised gangs were operating in India. Three teams were formed immediately and sent to West Bengal, Bihar and Delhi.