Daylight shootout in capital; four bank robbers injured (Second Lead)

January 19th, 2009 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) In a scene straight out of an action thriller, Delhi Police sharpshooters chased a gang of “desperate criminals” in broad daylight on a busy road in the capital Monday before knocking down four of them in a shootout. Police later said four criminals were seriously injured while five managed to flee.Working on a tip-off, the Delhi Police team began chasing two cars - a black Honda Accord and a white Hyundai Santro - from right outside McDonald’s restaurant in South Extension all the way to Green Park Extension in south Delhi at around 4 p.m. The speeding black Accord took a sharp turn inside a lane of the colony, when the police Safari SUV rammed it from behind, forcing it to halt.

Four men, whom police identified as Satya Prakash, Shakeel, Sonu and Nadir, who police said was Afghan origin, opened fire at the police team from automatic pistols. Five other gang members inside the white Santro managed to flee.

The policemen, who had been keeping an eye on the gang’s movement for sometime, retaliated. The policemen were prepared this time, wearing bullet-proof jackets and were heavily armed.

Both sides exchanged gunfire for around 12 minutes - causing a scare among scores of bystanders in the busy area. The criminals in the Accord sustained bullet injuries.

The criminals were dragged out of the car and laid on the ground, leading many to surmise that they were dead.

“All the four men were lying very still. Two of the men were blood-soaked, while a policeman was kneeling on one man,” according to a bystander, Pavneet Singh, who saw the entire drama unfolding before his eyes.

The men were taken in four vehicles to the Trauma Centre of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

According to police, the criminals are out of danger.

“Satya Prakash received bullets in his legs, Shakeel was hit on the upper part of the body. We have received information that all are out of danger,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (south) H.G.S Dhaliwal told reporters.

“They are desperate criminals and were planning to loot a bank in Green Park area. They had also planned to rob a embassy van that carries cash,” Dhaliwal said.

The gang was involved in robbing a bank cash van in R.K. Puram, a robbery in Greater Kailash-I and Malviya Nagar and a bank robbery in Samaipur Badli over the past two months.

Satya Prakash has been registered as “bad character” in Nand Nagri and is wanted in over 20 criminal cases, Dhaliwal said.

Dhaliwal said Satya Prakash, Shakeel, a known criminal of Mustafabad, and Nadir, resident of Lajpat Nagar, had come to McDonald’s on three bikes and met Sonu, who was waiting for them there in his black Accord. The men kept their helmets inside the car and drove towards Green Park, unaware that the police were tailing them. Five other gang members joined them on the way. Sonu was the one who did the recce for break-ins.

Near Green Park, they realised that police were on their tracks and speeded up.

Dhaliwal said: “There is no trace of the other car as they was a delay in relaying the message to other policemen because they were all engaged in the shootout.

“We have recovered four pistols and some pistols from the Honda Accord car. A reward of Rs.25,000 has been announced for anyone providing clues to the Santro car.”

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