From a rickshaw puller to gangster: Curtains down on Hyder’s rein in crime world

Kendrapara: From a rickshaw puller to a notorious gangster – Sheikh Hyder scripted a rags to riches story with sheer terror. In the 1980s, Hyder eked out a living by pulling a cycle rickshaw in the coastal town and sometimes to Cuttack to earn more money. He, who never attended school, even shuttled children to school on his rickshaw. Later, he also worked as a driver of a trekker and truck.

The toil made him tweak his future plans and take the shortcut to lead a life king-size.

In 1989-90, Hyder comes in contact with Rabin (Rabin Behera), a dreaded criminal then. Rabin, a resident of Sujanagar under Garapur gram panchayat, lured Hyder into the gang and introduced him to his associate Syed Usman Ali alias Tito who had recently walked out of jail.

The trio spread their network in the district and executed murders, kidnappings, loots and other crimes for money. In the early 90s, Suleman Malik aka Suleman joined in. While Rabin taught the trio the tricks of the crime, the three shot to notoriety overnight giving sleepless nights to the police. However, the mentor was shot dead in broad daylight near his residence paving way for Tito to be crowned as the leader of the gang.

Hyder, Tito and Suleman pulled triggers at the drop of a hat. However, murder of a local businessman Budha Mian for ransom by Hyder angered Tito. Tito parted ways with his gang members and decided to go solo. It had little impact on Hyder. He shot dead a criminal Bula Sethi in Kendrapara court in 1991, the incident sent shock waves across the state.

As the two gangs continued to spread their tentacles, Suleman had ventured into construction business.

In 1999, Tito offered a compromise deal to Hyder which lasted for nearly two years as the enmity again renewed over government tenders.

Notably, Hyder was injured in an encounter in 1997 while DSP Jaideep Sarangi was leading the team.

In May 2005, Hyder’s men eliminated Sulaiman’s younger brother, Sheikh Chuna. He was shot dead near Stewart School in Bhubaneswar while he was sitting in a garage. Hyder was arrested and put in jail in this case. Six years later, he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. While Hyder was in jail, Suleman, who had become a B-Class contractor then, was shot dead by Tito’s men while on his way to a work site on a Bolero.

Hyder operated his crime syndicated from inside jails. He orchestrated the abduction of Keonjhar mining businessman Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra and his driver for Rs 2 crore ransom in 2007. The ill-fated businessman and his staff were killed despite receiving the ransom.

While Hyder was in Jharpada Special Jail, he had a scuffle with Dhala Samanta brothers in 2015. The jail authorities had to shift Hyder on several occasions over security reasons. He was shifted from Bhubaneswar, Balangir and Sambalpur – in a bid to curtail his crime syndicate.

During his stay in Balangir jail, Hyder was referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital in March this year for better treatment. However, he gave the cops a slip and escaped to Telangana. However, frantic efforts bore fruits as he was nabbed in less than 120 hours.

The disappearing act of the gangster led to a lot of hue and cry and put the cops in a dock. Six men in khakhi were put under suspension for the lapse.

Reportedly, the 59-year-old was today shot near Simulia while he was being shifted to Baripada jail from Choudwar Circle Jail over security reasons. Police said, the criminal serving a life sentence tried to snatch firearm from an escorting cop after stopping the vehicle in the guise of attending nature’s call. A policeman opened fire at him to prevent him from repeating the SCB incident again. In the helter-skelter, the anti-social sustained bullet injuries and was rushed to District Headquarters Hospital in Balasore where he succumbed to his injuries. This led to the fall of the second of the notorious Kendrapara trio.

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