Before Chhattarpur encounter, gangsters switched car at last minute to get air filled in tyres

The Special Task Force (STF) of Delhi Police’s crime branch has detained Sanjit Choudhary, owner of the farmhouse where the men had met before the shooting.

Written by Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi | Published: July 1, 2018 4:42:23 am
The incident took place at Fatehpur Beri. (Express photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

Days after four alleged criminals were killed in an encounter in south Delhi’s Chhattarpur, the Special Task Force (STF) of Delhi Police’s crime branch has detained Sanjit Choudhary, owner of the farmhouse where the men had met before the shooting. According to police, Choudhary told them that the alleged criminals, including one of Delhi’s most-wanted men, Rajesh Bharti, were taking their Ford Endeavour to a petrol pump nearby to get the air pressure in the tyre checked. According to police, Bharti had taken a security guard, Kapil, with him. The guard was subsequently arrested for allegedly opening fire at the policemen, and sent to 14-day judicial custody.

DCP (south) Romil Baaniya had earlier said that Choudhary was booked under IPC Section 212 (harbouring an offender). “Sanjit was present in his farmhouse when the incident took place and he came to know about the incident after a Delhi Police constable, posted at Fatehpur Beri police station, called him, informing him about the shootout near his farmhouse. Minutes after he was informed, he managed to flee the area in another car, but now he has joined the investigation and has been questioned by a team of the Special Task Force. No arrest has been made so far,” a police source claimed.

READ | Police tried to rope in passersby as witnesses, but they refused, says Inspector who led Chhattarpur encounter

On questioning him, police discovered that another infamous criminal, Sonu Panchanpur, had also visited his farmhouse. “Sanjit told police that he came in contact with Bharti via one of his associates, and that the criminals had visited the farmhouse several times. On June 9, Bharti and three of his associates — Sanjeev alias Sandeep Vidroh, Umesh alias Don and Viresh Rana alias Bhiku — came to his farmhouse in their i20 car,” police sources said.

A team of northern range of the special cell, which had laid a trap near the farmhouse, had specific information that they would be coming out in the hatchback. “But before exiting the farmhouse, Bharti noticed that the air pressure in his SUV’s tyre was low. So he decided to head to a nearby pump to get that fixed,” a police source said. One of his aides, Bhiku, followed them in the i20.

“Minutes after they left, the informer alerted the raiding team about the departure of the i20 car, with police still unaware that most of the alleged criminals were in the SUV. When police saw the i20, they put up a barricade to stop it. But the driver of the Ford Endeavour panicked on seeing this, and the men inside the car opened fire at the police team,” a senior police officer alleged, adding that police recovered passports of Choudhary’s wife and his associate from the Ford Endeavour.

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