The family of history-sheeter Rakesh Pandey, who was gunned down by police on Sunday, has demanded a CBI inquiry into the killing, alleging that the encounter was staged.
The Special Task Force of the UP Police on Sunday claimed that Pandey, 50, who was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head, was killed in an encounter in Sarojini Nagar area in the early hours of the day. The STF said that Pandey and his associates were planning to commit a crime when he was killed in crossfire with police after a car chase.
Pandey’s family, however, alleged that police killed him after picking from a private hospital in Lucknow where he had been admitted.
Rakesh Pandey’s son Akash told The Indian Express, “My father had developed breathing problems and was earlier a patient of bronchitis. He went to a private hospital in Gudamba last week where he was admitted. On Sunday early morning, around 2.30 am, a police team reached the hospital. They threatened people who were with my father and asked them to leave. Police then took my father with them. Before leaving the hospital, the policemen destroyed all medical documents related to my father and damaged CCTV footage of the hospital.”
“The STF killed my father in a fake encounter. We will approach the Supreme Court for a CBI inquiry,” Akash said, adding that the family came to know about his death from news channels.
Akash also said that his father was acquitted in the murder cases — of BJP leader Krishna Nand Rai and contractor Ajay Prakash Singh alias Manna Singh — and was out of jail for the last two years.
“The court had acquitted my father in the murder case of Krishnanand Rai and Ajay Prakash Singh, but still the police are highlighting the two cases to justify my father’s killing. He was out of jail for over last two years,” said Akash, alleging that he was not allowed to take his father’s body to Mau, their native place, for the last rites.
Meanwhile, social activist Nutan Thakur has written a complaint to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), stating that the encounter has raised several questions and demanded an investigation into the matter.
Thakur in her complaint claimed that Pandey’s father, Baldutt Pandey, has said the family didn’t know about the Rs 50,000 reward was placed on his son’s head. Rakesh Pandey had not been named in the case lodged at Prayagraj in which the police declared him wanted, Thakur alleged. She also raised a question about the car in which, the STF claimed, Rakesh Pandey was travelling when it hit a tree during the car chase.
The front as well as the rear number plates of the car were found broken at the same place, claimed Thakur.
Senior Superintendent of Police (STF) Sudhir Kumar Singh denied the allegations and reiterated that Pandey, a close aide of jailed gangster-turned-MLA Mukhtar Ansari, was killed in the crossfire with police. He also added that Pandey was wanted in two cases registered in Mau and Prayagraj, and subsequently, the reward was declared on him. The SSP said that there were 12 cases against Pandey, including that of murder and attempt to murder.
According the STF, after receiving a tip-off that Pandey and his associates were planning to commit a crime, a team of police reached Gudamba area of Lucknow where around 4.20 am, they spotted a car in which Pandey and his associates were travelling. When the police team told them to stop, the car tried to escape and collided with a tree near Lucknow airport after a chase, said the STF, adding that Pandey opened fire to escape but was injured in the police firing and later died.
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