Kozhikode: Six-man gang held after 40 km chase

A team headed by Rasheed had conducted around ten rounds of visit to the Vadakara targeting hawala operators in the last two weeks.

KOZHIKODE: Vadakara police busted a gang which specialised in kidnapping hawala racketeers and siphoning off huge sums of money, after an adventurous chase for about 40 kilometers and fifty minutes, according to police. The arrest of the six-member gang was made on Thursday and they were remanded to judicial custody by court on Friday. Police also seized the car in which the culprits were travelling along with face mas-ks, knives, pepper spray and fake number plates.

The arrested were Villi-appalli Muhammed Rash-eed, 37, Thazhechalil Hou-se, Sajeevan, 45, Krish-naradha House, Lineesh, 36, Labna Nivas, Shijin alias Tuttu, 29, Vazhayil House and Shamjith, 34, Sreepadam House, Palay-ad (all natives of Dharm-adam) and Ashwanth, 24, driver of the vehicle, Cha-lil House, Echoor Post, Chakkarakallu.

Vadakara Inspector of Police Abdul Karim told reporters that the arrest was made after receiving a tip off weeks ago after which the gangsters were under close police watch. When the police team followed on Thursday, the gangsters had a futile attempt to escape leading to a risky chase. Starting from Vadakara the gangsters were intercepted at Cheruvannur 40 kilometers away, under the Meppayur police station limits after the vehicle rammed into another, police said.

All the accused were earlier arrested in connection with various cases of attempt to murder, murder, highway robbery, kidnapping under various police station limits. The gangsters have affinity to a political par-ty and were involved in political clashes against CPM workers in Kannur district.

The gang leader Rash-eed had been operating as a hawala racketeer for the last many years and is on the lookout in many cases including robbing off Rs 85 lakh and `65 lakh from hawala carriers at Kutta check-post, on the Kerala-Karnataka border. A team headed by Rasheed had conducted around ten ro-unds of visit to the Vada-kara targeting hawala operators in the last two weeks.

Lineesh is accused in the murder of CPM worker Mohanan and in the attempt to murder another CPM worker. He was imprisoned in Karnataka for three months. Sajee-van is accused in about 20 cases under Dharmadam and Mahe police station limits. Ashwanth is a B Tech (Electrical and Electronics) graduate.

The chase that started at 12 noon ended after one hour. Police had sealed all the exit points leading to the arrest.

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