New Delhi, Dec. 14: A day after the Parliament attack anniversary, Delhi police shot dead two suspected Pakistani militants in an early morning encounter near Tughlaqabad fort.
A third, driving a white Maruti Zen ferrying the militants, fled while the gunbattle was raging between the police and his colleagues. The encounter on the outskirts of south Delhi began at 6.05 am and lasted 40 minutes.
This is the second encounter that the special cell of Delhi police has engaged in in less than two months. The first was on Diwali-eve in the basement of Ansal Plaza, a south Delhi shopping mall, where also two suspected militants were shot.
Investigations have revealed that the Zen had a forged registration number (DL-7C-5921), belonging to a black Cielo owned by a resident of Triveni Apartments in south Delhi. Efforts to trace the Zen owner are on.
Sources said the police had been chasing the trio for some time and had been given the slip once or twice. But they received intelligence last night that militants would be entering Delhi from Faridabad in Haryana.
Accordingly, barriers were put up on three roads leading from Faridabad into the capital and policemen posted, Delhi police joint commissioner (special cell) Neeraj Kumar, who was at the spot, said.
When the Zen pulled up at one of the barriers around 3 am, policemen asked the driver to stop but he sped away. Messages were then flashed to all police posts that the car had taken the road leading to Karni Singh Shooting Range, which opens in front of Tughlaqabad fort.
As it turned, the car banged into a low wall separating the road from the fort. Police parties waiting there then opened fire. Two militants jumped into the trench adjacent to the fort, all the while spraying bullets and lobbing grenades at the police, Kumar said. Both were killed in the return fire.
A hunt is on for the driver. Faridabad police have also been alerted. Of the 86 rounds fired, 10 bullets are believed to have pierced the Zen.
The militants, dressed in jeans and jackets, were thin and appeared to be in their early 20s. Two identity cards of the Tehrik-e-Jehanvi, an outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir, were found. One was issued to one Mohammed Javed Malik.
Two AK-47s with 94 rounds of ammunition, six magazines and three live Arges grenades were recovered. Similar Austria-make grenades were found on the militants who had attacked Parliament in December last year.
Kumar said he had intelligence militants would strike on Babri demolition day or on Parliament attack anniversary. Having failed, they struck at the first chance after that, he added.