Police make arrests to control impact of rivalry between ‘quotation’ gangs

The city police are taking steps to control the effects of an old feud between members of rival gangs that is still creating ripples in the city. Several gangsters have been detained in the city under the Kerala Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act and other laws in the past two weeks.

The rivalry between the two gangs, allegedly led by ‘Bhai’ Naseer and ‘Maradu’ Aneesh, first came to public attention with the murder of Imtiaz, a businessman believed to have been an associate of Naseer, near Vaduthala in December 2012. The association between the two rival gang leaders, however, extends much before 2012. Police officials in the city said that Naseer and Aneesh once worked together.

Naseer, hailing from Nettoor near Panangad, and Aneesh from Maradu, are accused in several cases of dacoity and theft against them from around Panangad, Maradu, and Tripunithura. Later, they were also booked for cases of attempted murder and extortion. Police said the two men used to threaten real estate brokers to manipulate deals and obtain a share of commissions. The two later parted ways following a dispute. “All the police attention also made it difficult for them to operate in the city. So they shifted base out of Kochi,” said a police official. Members of Maradu Aneesh’s gang have been arrested from Dindigul, Madurai, and parts of Tamil Nadu. ‘Bhai’ Naseer was also arrested with an associate recently from Mysore. The gangs allegedly abetted the smuggling of illegal spirits and hawala money.

The bitter feud between the two gangs allegedly broke out after Sinoj, whom a police officer described as Aneesh’s right-hand man, was killed in a shootout with the Tamil Nadu police in 2012. “The gang members believe that Naseer tipped off the police about Sinoj’s location,” said a police officer.

The gang war found its way back to Kochi with the Imtiaz murder. Imtiaz was found lying dead in his car parked near his house on December 28. He was allegedly tortured for information on Naseer’s whereabouts by members of Aneesh’s gang. The city police were expecting some violence around the first anniversary of Imtiaz’s murder in December.

Last month, a scuffle broke out between the rival gangsters along the corridors of the District Court complex here. Soon after, two low-intensity bombs were thrown at a residential complex at Kaloor, where a gang member reportedly lived.

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