A Delhi courtroom plunged into panic Wednesday after two “contract killers”, suspected to be minors, fired 10 times in about 25 seconds, killing a police head constable and injuring an undertrial, said police sources.
As the two let loose the volley of bullets inside courtroom 73 at Karkardooma District Court at about 11.10am, two of their accomplices, also suspected to be minors, waited outside, the sources added.
The “contract killers” were targeting “high risk undertrial” and gangster Irfan alias Cheena Pehalwan, said sources. Head constable Ram Kunwar Meena of Delhi Armed Police 3rd Battalion, who was escorting Irfan, was hit by four bullets, said the police.
“Head constable Meena was hit on his head, chest and leg, while Irfan was struck by two bullets. Both were rushed to nearby Hedgewar Hospital, where Meena was declared brought dead. His body was shifted to Subzi Mandi mortuary for post-mortem,” said DCP East Bhairon Singh Gurjar.
Amid chaos following the shooting, lawyers and litigants inside the courtroom overpowered the two juveniles, said sources. The other two, waiting outside, were nabbed near a staircase as they tried to flee, the sources added.
Police said two .315 country-made guns used inside the courtroom were seized. Police found two more weapons, a .32 bore pistol and a revolver, outside; one near the staircase and the other near a washroom.
Police sources said the shooting was the result of a fallout between the gangs of Abdul Nasir alias Khyber Hayat and Irfan. The juveniles claimed they were recruited by Nasir, said sources. The juveniles are from South East Delhi’s Madingir and Dakshinpuri areas, said a police source. Nasir is in jail and his gang operates in the North East region of the city, said the source.
“The ‘juveniles’ were asked to eliminate Irfan. One of the four is 17 years and nine months old and had been held earlier in connection with the murder of a youth in Ambedkar Nagar in August last year,” said the source.
According to sources, the courtroom was filled with nearly 30 litigants when the shooting started. “The two shooters entered the courtroom after Irfan’s name was called out for production before Metropolitan Magistrate Sunil Gupta in a case registered against him in Seelampur in 2012. Irfan was escorted by Meena, who stood beside the witness box,” said a source. “The juveniles waited for five minutes and started firing indiscriminately,” said the source who did not want to be named. Sources said besides litigants and the judge, the stenographer, the public prosecutor and four naib court (Delhi Police officials of the court) were inside the courtroom when the firing started.
After arresting the four “juveniles” and questioning them, it emerged that the weapons were procured from North West Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area, said a police officer. “We are investigating the procurement process.”
The Delhi government has announced Rs 1 crore ex gratia for the family of slain head constable Meena.