Lucknow, Aug 9: An aide of don-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari who was accused in the 2005 killing of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai was gunned down by the Uttar Pradesh Police’s Special Task Force here on Sunday morning, officials said. Rakesh Pandey alias Hanuman Pandey was shot dead in Sarojini Nagar area of the state capital, they said.
“The encounter of the criminal carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head took place around 4.20 AM on Sunday in Sarojini Nagar police station area of Lucknow. He sustained injuries in the encounter, and later succumbed to his injuries during treatment,” the STF said in a statement issued here.
Pandey was allegedly involved in the killing of Rai, who was an MLA from Mohammadabad Assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh. The legislator was killed on November 29, 2005. “The cavalcade of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai was fired upon by criminals equipped with AK-47, and more than 400 rounds of bullets were fired. Seven people including Krishnanand Rai died. Pandey was involved in this incident,” the STF said.
Pandey was a sharpshooter of mafia dons Ansari and Munna Bajrangi, it said. Around 12 cases were registered against Pandey, who was out on bail, in different districts of Uttar Pradesh, it added. Police have recovered two pistols, ammunition and two mobile phones from the spot. The STF claimed Pandey was among the most reliable men of Ansari, who is the sitting BSP MLA from Mau assembly constituency in Uttar Pradesh, and managed contracts in the district.
The STF said it received a tip-off that Pandey had been seen in Lucknow’s Gudumba area, and was collecting weapons to commit a crime. “When the STF team reached Gudumba, it was learnt that the criminals are heading towards Kanpur Road,” it said. Around 4.20 am, police tried to stop an SUV in which Pandey was travelling. He tried to flee and open fire at the police party, it added.
“However, the SUV collided with a roadside tree. A person stepped out of the SUV and opened indiscriminate firing on the STF team,” the statement said. “The STF fired in a controlled manner for self-defence to catch the criminal,” it said.
“After some time, when the firing stopped, the criminal was taken to Sarojini Nagar community health centre, where he succumbed to his injuries. Another criminal fled from the spot,” it said.