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Cops, robbers trade fire
- Sodepur sub-inspector shot by gang of eight

The police fought a pitched battle with a gang of eight dacoits on Wednesday morning near Sodepur. While four of the dacoits, in their mid-20s, were rounded up after a chase and a shootout, a policeman was injured in the clash. He was admitted to a local hospital, where his condition was stated to be “serious”.

The rest of the gang fled and could not be located till late on Wednesday.

The half-an-hour chase began on BT Road and ended on Sodepur Road, near Ghola police station. Police recovered arms and ammunition from the arrested dacoits.

According to M. Harisena Verma, superintendent of police, North 24-Parganas, a team of cops patrolling BT Road, in Titagarh, came upon a group moving suspiciously in front of B.N. Bose Hospital. “When they saw the police, the gang of eight got into a car and tried to flee,” said Verma.

While escaping, the gang started lobbing bombs and later opened fire along Sodepur Road. The police returned the fire but a sub-inspector was injured when one of the miscreants’ bullets struck him. None of the dacoits, however, were injured.

The Titagarh police, meanwhile, tipped off their counterparts in Ghola Bazar, who intercepted the gang while they were trying to cross the area.

The police team mustered up residents of the area to block all escape routes.

“When the dacoits found the roads blocked by a large crowd, they got off their vehicle and started running in different directions, with the mob on their trail,” said Verma.

Four of the dacoits were caught after a long chase, while others escaped in different lanes. Those arrested were identified as Akbar Ali Gazi, Sirazul Sheikh, Mohammad Masood and Noor Mohammad.

“After initial investigations, we came to know that the dacoits were from Kidderpore. We are contacting Kidderpore police station for information on them,” said an official.

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