Two different units of the Delhi Police Special Cell — from the New Delhi range and the Northern range — had been working overtime for the last seven days after they came to know that one of Delhi’s most-wanted men, Rajesh Bharti, frequented a farmhouse in south Delhi’s Chattarpur. According to top officials, a trap was laid to catch him on Friday, but no one showed up. Then, a fresh input was received that he would visit the farmhouse Saturday. This time, the operation ended in a fatal gunbattle that killed Bharti, his aide Sandeep Vidrohi and two other lower-ranked criminals.
Police said both Bharti and Sandeep had escaped from the custody of Haryana police over a year ago. They were so brazen that in July last year, they killed a man in Dwarka and left behind a note claiming to be vigilantes.
They came back in focus when the gang committed a series of crimes in south Delhi, including the robbery of two SUVs from Vasant Kunj on May 18-19.
Sources said that in the last one month, several south Delhi-based bookies had approached police through their contacts to red flag demands of Rs 50 lakh-Rs 1 crore by the gang as protection money. “Teams started intercepting phone calls of Bharti and his associates. In one, they talked about procuring AK-47 and hand grenades. Police also discovered Bharti had visited the farmhouse over 10 times in the last month,” claimed an officer. Sources said the farmhouse is owned by a businessman, who is absconding.
“Once a specific tip-off was received that Bharti would visit the farmhouse, a team of 30 personnel, led by two inspectors, was stationed in Chattarpur from 5.30 am onwards. Sixteen personnel were wearing bulletproof jackets and carrying AK-47, MP5 sub-machine guns and Glock pistols,” a senior officer said. Some officers were dressed in plainclothes.
“Around noon, Bharti and his associates entered the farmhouse and at 12.40 pm, they came out in two cars — Ford Endeavour and Hyundai i20. Around 12.50 pm, the teams gave chase and intercepted both cars at Bashir Bagh lane, blocking them from both sides,” an officer said. The men were asked by the police team to surrender, but they allegedly started firing, an officer claimed. “The police team fired back. Four persons were shot dead, while one sustained injuries. The others managed to escape; we are yet to ascertain how many,” the officer said.
Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik said, “We have assigned the Special Cell to work on inter-state criminals active in Haryana and Delhi… Our main motive was to arrest the men and officers even asked them to surrender, but they opened fire. To save themselves, the officers fired back.”