A gang allegedly operating under the patronage of leaders of various political parties was busted on Sunday, prompting recovery of arms and ammunition.
According to police, the gang used to operate at Maner diara, around 20km west of the city.
Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said: “It is a big success for the police before the Lok Sabha elections, as the gang was operating under the patronage of leaders of different political parties and was involved in extorting money from people of the area.”
The arrested criminal, Shankar Dayal Singh alias Fauji, said many leaders of different political parties were in contact with the members, including a former MLA from Mahnar (Vaishali).
The recovered arms and ammunition included two 30.06 bore US-made semi-automatic rifles, a Belgium-made sniper rifle, two 3.15 bore police rifles, a double-barrelled gun, a single-barrelled gun, more than 200 live cartridges, four AK-47 cartridges, Rs 1.42 lakh in cash, cellphones and others.
The gang used to target passengers on boats, brick kiln operators, traders and farmers. SSP Maharaaj said: “On an average, the gang used to extort Rs 1.5 lakh daily.” Based on a tip-off, the police, on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, raided the Lodipur-Vyapur diara area.
On seeing the police personnel, the criminals opened fire. The shootout started at 3am and continued till 5.30am. While the criminals fired 100 rounds, the police retaliated.
The criminals tried to flee on boats but the cops gave chase. The police were successful in arresting nine of them. The police said the criminals threw AK-47 rifles and an Insas rifle in the Ganga.
Based on interrogation, the police are conducting raids at hideouts and investigating whether the criminals had any connection with terrorist groups in the country.