IN A DAYLIGHT shootout in the Capital, four alleged criminals, including one of Delhi’s most wanted, Rajesh Kandela alias Rajesh Bharti, were killed on Saturday afternoon. While one of their alleged associates is injured, two reportedly managed to escape.
Eight policemen were injured in the shootout in South Delhi’s Chhattarpur area, with the condition of one, Head Constable Girdhar, said to be serious. Bharti, who was in the city’s list of top 10 wanted criminals, had fled from the custody of the Haryana Police around one-and-a-half years ago. He was carrying a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head.
DCP (Special Cell) P S Kushwah identified the other deceased as Sanjeev alias Sandeep Vidroh, Umesh alias Don and Viresh Rana alias Bhiku. The injured “associate” is said to be Kapil.
Kushwah said Bharti’s gang was also referred to as Kranti Gang. Earlier, the gang members were said to be mostly active in Haryana but in the last one year, they had been named in cases in Delhi and had reportedly struck in Vasant Kunj and Dwarka. Bharti was named in incidents of car-jacking in Vasant Kunj and Dwarka, besides around 25 cases of murder, extortion, kidnapping and attempt to murder in different police stations of Delhi, Haryana and Jaipur.
The officer said Vidroh and Umesh were also carrying rewards on their heads.
A senior police officer said, “We had been tracking the gang for six-seven months. A northern range team of the Delhi Police Special Cell received information that around six persons, including Bharti, would be coming near a farmhouse in South Delhi. We had specific information that the men were planning to commit a crime and would be in the area from 6 am to 1 pm, and would be carrying sophisticated weapons,”
A senior police officer said they laid a trap, with a team of 30 personnel deployed for the operation.
Police said the suspects arrived in two vehicles, an SUV and a car, and they gave them chase before trapping them inside a lane, blocking both its ends. An officer said they told the men to come out of their cars and surrender, but the latter stayed inside and opened fire.
Police said they had to open fire in self-defence. “Around 150 rounds were fired from the two sides — more than hundred from the police side,” the officer said.
Following the shootout, the injured criminals were rushed to hospitals, where four were declared brought dead on arrival. Five sophisticated weapons, including two .30 bore Star pistols and several live rounds, were reportedly recovered. Police also claim to have found 40 fake number plates in the car. They said they were trying to establish who owned the vehicle.
Bharti was reportedly a regular at a Chhattarpur farmhouse, owned by a real-estate businessman who is a resident of Lado Sarai, for the last 10 days. Police are probing the role of this businessman.
Apart from Head Constable Girdhar, who was shot in the neck, the other police officials injured in the shootout were Head Constable Kuldeep, Constable Gurdeep, Sub-Inspectors Krishan Kumar, Raj Singh and Bijender, and Assistant Sub-Inspectors Hari Chand and Jagat Singh.