The Azamgarh Police claim to have arrested a “gangster carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh from Delhi Police” following an exchange of fire in which he was injured while an additional SP suffered a bullet injury in his hand. The “gangster”, Bheem alias Sagar, was arrested on Tuesday morning, but then escaped from custody, claim police. He was allegedly nabbed again in an encounter in the early hours of Wednesday, when the police were carrying out vehicle checks in City Kotwali area.
SP Azamgarh Ajay Kumar Sahni said he somehow escaped when Bheem fired at him in the chest as he was wearing a bullet-proof jacket. ASP (Rural) Narendra Pratap Singh sustained a gunshot injury in his right hand, claimed police.
According to police, Bheem suffered three bullet injuries in his legs in the exchange of fire. The gangster was rushed to the BHU Hospital in Varanasi after the encounter, was discharged and brought back to Azamgarh in the evening, they further said.
Circle Officer (City area) Sachchidanand said, “Doctors at BHU said Bheem’s condition was stable and he was discharged.” A native of Azamgarh’s Ghambheempur village, Bheem allegedly has 42 criminal cases against him including 19 registered in different police stations of Delhi.
Initially, Azamgarh Police had not informed their Delhi counterparts after he was arrested on Tuesday morning.
Police also claimed to have recovered a 9mm pistol, cartridges and two phones from Bheem.
Station House Officer, City Kotwali police station, Yogendra Bahadur Singh said, “Bheem was arrested in Bardah police station area by local police in a robbery case. Two police constables were taking Bheem and another criminal, Santosh Bharti, in a tempo to produce them in court. They had reached Narauli in City Kotwali area when Bheem complained of pain in the stomach. Policemen got the vehicle to stop and were asking him about the problem when he pushed the constables and escaped with handcuffs.”
The SHO further said that while the entire district was put on alert, they were informed about two criminals looting a motorcycle and cell phone from a businessman in Sidhari police station area. Heavy police force was engaged in checking vehicles in the district, added the SHO.
At around 3 am, policemen spotted a motorcycle coming from Katralpur crossing in City Kotwali area. When a constable signalled to stop the vehicle, Bheem, who was riding pillion, fired indiscriminately at the police team, said the SHO SP Ajay Kumar Sahni said that he along with ASP Narendra Pratap were present there. A bullet hit ASP’s right hand while another hit his chest, but he survived due to the bullet proof jacket he was wearing.
The police team opened retaliatory fire, the SP claimed, and Bheem suffered three bullet injuries in his legs. Bheem then fell while his aide, who was later identified as Rakesh Pasi, escaped. The SP later told The Indian Express, “We were not aware that Bheem was such a hardcore criminal when he was arrested earlier yesterday. We did not even know about the reward announced by Delhi Police. We got to know about his criminal records after he escaped from police custody. We have informed the Delhi police about the arrest.”
Asked about Bheem being taken to Varanasi, the SP said, “X-Ray machine at the district hospital here was not working properly and there was too much bleeding, so we sent him to Varanasi.”