New Delhi, Jan. 19: A suspected gangster from the notorious border region between Haryana and Rajasthan was shot dead in an encounter today, but not before a police driver had a close shave when a bullet grazed his shoulder.
Police said the pre-dawn shootout in Pitampura, northwest Delhi, lasted around 30 minutes after an 8km chase by several teams led by two assistant commissioners.
Joint commissioner Tejinder Luthra said the dead man, Yakub, 25, was a member of a notorious cattle-thief gang from Haryana’s Mewat district.
“The shootout continued for about 30 minutes and 27 rounds were fired by the police. Yakub died on the spot. His associates Sanwar, 25, Khalid, 22, Anwar, 20, and Ankur, 22, were arrested later,” Luthra said. Three or four others fled.
The number of rounds fired by the gang is yet to be ascertained, sources said.
Gangs from Mewat, a region bordering Haryana and Rajasthan, have been involved in crimes in the capital over the past few years. At first, they mostly escaped with cattle but later took to burglary, using mini-trucks and operating in groups of seven to eight. “But criminals from the region have graduated from thefts to brutal murders and rapes in the capital,” said a senior police official.
Last year, some gang members were arrested for alleged involvement in the abduction and gang rape of a 30-year-old BPO employee from Mizoram.
This morning the cops gave chase after the control room got a call around 2am about theft of cattle in KN Katju Marg, north Delhi, and alerted a police patrol. A team led by assistant commissioner Ranjan Singh tried to intercept the mini-truck the gang of eight or nine was travelling in, but the criminals sped away firing at the police.
Two other police teams, led by assistant commissioner Jasmeet Singh and sub-inspector Mukesh Anil, joined the chase in separate vehicles.
Luthra said the shootout began around 2.30am after the gang, which was fleeing with cattle, opened fire at the nine policemen giving chase.
A police driver suffered minor injuries when a bullet grazed his shoulder.
“They kept on firing and hurling stones at our team members from their vehicle. But our team managed to stop them near Lok Vihar at Pitampura after a police bullet burst one of the tyres of the mini-truck,” Luthra added.
A bullet fired by the police hit Yakub in the forehead and he collapsed on the spot.
On January 15 night, four policemen suffered minor injuries and two police vehicles were damaged in outer Delhi when a group of criminals from Mewat opened fire and pelted a police team chasing them with stones.
“They opened fire at the police while trying to flee in a mini-truck. In retaliation, the police personnel had fired at them. Nobody was wounded in the firing but four policemen were injured in the stone-pelting. The criminals managed to escape after abandoning the vehicle,” said an official.