Dreaded bandit killed in gunbattle with Uttar Pradesh police (Lead)

August 4th, 2008 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Aug 4 (IANS) Dreaded bandit Ambika Prasad Patel alias Thokia was shot dead by the Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police in a gunbattle in the ravines of Chitrakoot district early Monday, officials here said. Uttar Pradesh Director General of Police Vikram Singh visited the spot at Chilkhori village, about 300 km from here, where the gunbattle between Patel’s gang and the police squad took place. Singh said a DNA test will be conducted to confirm the identity of the slain bandit.

Thokia carried a cash reward of Rs.500,000 on his head in Uttar Pradesh and an additional Rs.100,000 in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh.

“The other gang members managed to flee and a hunt has been launched for them,” senior superintendent of police (STF) Amitabh Yash told IANS by phone.

Sub-inspector H.S. Yadav of Bharatkoop police station added: “Some of his gang members were also injured in the ambush and we are searching for them.”

Operating in over 100 villages on the borders of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Thokia had nearly 60 cases of robbery, murder and kidnapping lodged against him in various bordering districts of the two states.

“Thokia joined the Sant Kherwar gang in early 2001 but soon formed his own gang after Kherwar was killed in a police encounter,” the STF said in a press release in the evening.

“In 2004, Thokia and his gang attacked two policemen while they were patrolling the area in Chitrakoot and, besides killing them, the gang also looted their rifles and cartridges,” the release added.

On July 23 last year, in a similar gunbattle, Thokia and his gang ambushed a patrol of the STF and killed six policemen and injured four in the ravines.

The gang’s attack came only a day after the STF had gunned down another bandit, Shiv Kumar alias Dadua, and nine of his gang supporters in the same ravines of Chitrakoot.

Thokia, who had studied up to the intermediate level, was tech-savvy and besides keeping latest weapons, he also used to carry latest mobile phones.

Four weapons, including a semi-automatic rifle and two single barrel guns, were recovered from the site of the gunbattle.

According to the STF sources, Thokia’s armoury included Russian-made binoculars, electronic gadgets, mobile phones and sophisticated weapons.

He was most recently operating from Chhattarpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

The STF sources said that besides a tip-off by an informer, it was also through mobile surveillance that the force was successful in tracking him.

STF sleuths said some of his gang members were injured in the ambush.

“The operation (against the bandits) has not been called off as yet and we will ensure that all dacoits of the entire region (Bundelkhand) are nailed,” DGP Vikram Singh said.

The police said there were at least 50 brigands in the region and the force was looking for them.

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