‘Encounter specialist’ police officer shot dead

March 25th, 2008 - 11:58 am ICT by admin  

(Second Lead)

Gurgaon, March 25 (IANS) Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police Rajbir Singh was shot dead on the outskirts of the national capital allegedly by a property dealer following a dispute over money. The suspect, Vijay Bhardwaj, has been arrested and the weapon used in the crime has been recovered, the police said.

The incident occurred Monday evening when Singh, known as an “encounter specialist” for the number of alleged criminals he had shot down, had gone to collect Rs.6 million from Bhardwaj at his office on Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road here.

Singh, who otherwise had top security cover (Z plus category) due to threats from various terrorist organisations, had only one personal security officer (PSO) with him when he went to meet the property dealer.

According to police sources, Singh and Bhardwaj had shared a drink before exchanging heated arguments over a dispute involving property.

The sources said Singh had asked his PSO to remain outside the room while he was talking to Bhardwaj.

After killing Singh, Bhardwaj called the media and the police to confess the murder.

Bhardwaj in his statement recorded at the Sector 40 police station here, has admitted that a scuffle broke out between them over a money dispute following which he pumped two bullets into Singh’s body.

“Rajbir Bhai Sahib, ACP Delhi Police, and I had some long standing money dispute and he (Rajbir) was pressurising me for the past five-six months to pay the money or else face dire consequences,” Bhardwaj told reporters outside his office.

“I was too scared. Once I tried to commit suicide but my family prevented me. Monday was the deadline for arranging the money but I failed,” Bhardwaj said before he was whisked away by the police.

Singh’s body has been sent for post-mortem examination and forensic teams were collecting evidence from the scene.

He headed the special operations squad of the Delhi Police’s crime branch and was also involved in the successful investigation of terrorist attack on parliament in 2001.

Singh, who had served for six years with the Delhi Police special cell, had earlier been transferred to Delhi Armed Police (DAP) and later to the traffic department after tapes of his purported conversations with a contractor on a land deal were made public.

Later, a vigilance probe gave him a clean chit stating that a retired police official connived with others and recorded his phone calls illegally to settle scores with him.

He started his career as a sub-inspector in 1982 and climbed up the hierarchy through a series of shootouts. Singh was involved in nearly 50 shootouts.

Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat said officials were investigating why security officers did not accompany Singh, when they were supposed to.

Deputy Commissioner of Delhi Police (Crime Branch) Anil Shukla said: “We received the call from the Gurgaon police about the incident. A team was rushed to Gurgaon to confirm the victim’s identity.

“We are providing full support to the Gurgaon police in their investigations.”

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