A suspected gangwar spilled out on a busy Gurgaon street in broad daylight on Wednesday, when four unidentified men unleashed a hail of bullets on a SUV carrying a man on way to court for a murder hearing.
While their target, identified as Rakesh Kumar, escaped unscathed and the assailants managed to flee, an autorickshaw driver at the site of the attack was killed when he was hit by a stray bullet.
Another bullet hit Hansraj, the driver of the SUV, in the head. He lost control of the vehicle, broke through the divider, rammed into two other cars and finally landed on an autorickshaw parked nearby.
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The auto-rickshaw driver Kamal, who was injured in the gunfire, was rushed to a local hospital and succumbed to injuries later.
According to police, the incident took place near the Gurgaon Central mall around 9 am, after Rakesh Kumar left Beverly Park-1, a residential complex, in his SUV.
“As soon as his car turned towards the main road from the service road, sounds of bullets being fired could be heard. After his SUV rammed into the autorickshaw, Kumar came out of the car and hid inside a nearby building,” said Sri Ram Prasad, security supervisor of the complex.
The four gunmen, who were in a silver Santro with an Uttar Pradesh licence plate, fled the spot while still firing rounds in the air.
“Around 9 am, we got information about the sound of firing at MG Road. When we reached there, we found a car on top of an auto. Four persons started the firing. The auto driver, who was standing there, was injured in the head and he died. Another auto driver was injured in the head and he is admitted at the Safdarjung hospital. Police are conducting an investigation and a few names have emerged,” said Gurgaon Police Commissioner Navdeep Singh Virk.
Hansraj, the driver of the SUV, later underwent an operation to remove the bullet, and is said to be in a stable condition.
The attack seems to be the result of a gang rivalry and the target was Rakesh Kumar from Hayatpur village in Gurgaon, police said.
Kumar was on his way to the district court to attend a hearing in the murder case of a former sarpanch of Hayatpur, in which he is an accused, said police sources.
“Kumar has been arrested and an investigation is going on. This seems to be a case of gang-war,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rajesh Kumar Chechi said.
The police have announced a reward of Rs 50,000 for information on the gunmen. “During investigation, Kumar revealed two names and we are investigating them,” Chechi added.
Released on bail in the murder case, Kumar got involved in a land feud and had allegedly beaten up one of the two men with whom he had a dispute, said police sources.
“Kumar, who has earlier been booked for land fraud and cheating, had beaten up one of the two men who bought land in front of his house. In his complaint, Kumar has mentioned these two men,” the ACP said.
He also said that on Monday, a man called Kapil was arrested for alleged possession of illegal weapons. Kapil later told the police that he had been getting threat calls from Kumar.
“We are investigating his involvement in this shootout because Kapil said that he had kept the weapons for security reasons. Why would someone keep so many weapons for safety,” Chechi added.
The Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road was sealed off after the incident and traffic on the busy road was disrupted for over an hour. The traffic jam went all the way upto Sikanderpur and Rajiv Chowk on the expressway, said Rohit Jairath, a senior official of a firm that looks after the E-way.
It took the police hours to identify the dead auto rickshaw driver and locate his family. He was finally identified as Kamal Dang (29), who lived in Shakti Nagar with his mother and brother.
“The post-mortem was delayed as the police could not identify the deceased or trace anyone from his family,” said a senior official. The post-mortem will now be conducted on Thursday.