Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Shooter enters court in lawyer’s dress to kill rival

The Rohini court on Wednesday morning, police nabbed 10 suspected shooters who had taken positions in and around the premises in a daring attempt to kill a rival gangster and use the ensuing melee to free a comrade.

Police said they received a last-minute tip off on the operation and managed to avert a major incident inside the crowded court without a single shot being fired. Around 100 special cell sleuths spread out in the premises and, after an hour-long watch, nabbed the main would-be assassin. Nine others were held immediately thereafter.

The main shooter, a fresh face in crime, was dressed as a lawyer, police said. He carried a couple of 'case files' which contained two pistols and stood outside the courtroom waiting for the target — an associate of the slain ganglord Neetu Dabodia.

Dabodia was killed in an encounter with the special cell last year. "We have seized six pistols and ammunition from the shooters. The plan was hatched by Naveen Bali who is lodged in Faridabad jail. The shootout was to be carried out to kill gangster Pradeep Bola who Bali feared was planning to kill his brother Rahul in jail," said S N Shrivastava, special commissioner (special cell).

The target, Pradeep Bhola, belongs to the Dabodia gang and is lodged in Rohini jail. The shooters were from Dabodia's rival gang lead by Neeraj Bawana and Naveen Bali. Naveen's brother Rahul was arrested by the crime branch on April 15 in a case of double murder and is lodged in Rohini jail.

The presence of Rahul and Pradeep Bhola in the same jail had led to a major tug of war between them and led Bali to draw plan Bhola's assassination.

DCP (special cell) Sanjeev Yadav said that the police operation was carried out with clockwork precision as cops feared a major tragedy in the crowded court. The plan was hurriedly put together after police got a last-minute tip-off about the planned killing.

"We registered a case under sections of criminal conspiracy hatched for murder and left to avert a possible tragedy which could have not only resulted in a shootout but may also have resulted in innocent people getting hurt," Yadav said.

Around 11am, at least 100 men from the special cell armed with Glock pistols spread across the court premises. A few were dressed as lawyers, others as litigants, while some pretended to be "bad characters", walking around with shirt buttons open. There were men at paan shops, outside the lockup where the target was lodged and around the stairs.

Every strategic position was covered and all floors secured. Spotters and identifiers, whose job was to tip off the cops, were also stationed at different places.

The criminals arrived in a Maruti 800 car, a Swift and a Tata Safari, taking different routes which were already under surveillance. The main assassin, 23-year-old Vikas Dabas alias Fauji, wore a lawyer's attire brought on Wednesday morning and entered through the lawyer's gate.

A sub-inspector spotted Vikas and approached him asking if he belonged to village Sultanpur Dabas. As Vikas said 'yes', the informer signalled in the affirmative and the SI pinned him down while other cops unarmed him. The teams which were connected through wireless sets and Bluetooth devices then started to spot and overpower every shooter present in and outside the court. While Vikas helped catch another shooter, the two then helped catch two more and so on. Within minutes, the operation was over and the court secured.

The 10 criminals were then produced before the magistrate and taken on police remand to unearth the whole conspiracy. The nine others have been identified as Vinod Zehri, who also procured arms for the shootout, Rajkumar Bamba, Manjeet American, Surender Atti, Ravinder, Ravinder Bania, Vicky, Dinesh Ponu and Sunil Rana. They are all aged between 20 and 30.

ACP Manishi Chandra sustained injuries on his right hand in the operation.

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