The Delhi Police have decided to compile a database of truckers travelling to and from the Mewat region in Haryana. The move underlines the challenge that marauding criminals from the region pose to law and order in the national Capital.
The threat rang out on several northwest Delhi streets, located along a 16-kilometre-long stretch, early Saturday morning with more than three dozen shots being exchanged during the shootout and a dramatic pursuit that followed between 2am and 3am.
Saturday’s gunfight happens to be the first encounter to have occurred in the Capital in half a decade.
“We were finally able to force the gang’s truck to the side of a street near Lok Vihar after one of its tyres was punctured by a bullet,” said an officer.
“But they continued driving. That’s when the remaining rear tyre was punctured and the vehicle, with only two functional wheels remaining at its front, rammed the side and came to a halt around 50 metres from a police van from which it had been targeted,” he said.
Sources claimed 27-year-old Yakub, who succumbed to a bullet injury he had sustained on his forehead, could have been targeted by an INSAS rifle in self-defence. However, BS Jaiswal, DCP (outer), said it was still being investigated.
Yakub was later found to have been involved in at least 12 criminal cases registered in both Delhi and UP.
Police said they had a strong hunch that Yakub, a resident of Meerut, and the rest of the posse identified as Sanwar, 25, Khalid, 22, Anwar, 20 and Ankur, 22, were all originally from Mewat and were staying at Ghaziabad’s Masuri temporarily because of its proximity to Delhi.
“We are gradually building a database of drivers and trucking staff usually travelling to the region which can be referred to while investigating crime by Mewati gangs as well as incidents of highway robbery,” said an officer.
“Most of these incidents can be prevented if the flow of information which is weaned from truckers is curtailed,” he explained.
With as many as 121 criminals from Mewat having been arrested in 2012, the case has now been transferred to the special team of crime branch with the special cell too chipping in.
A policeman was also injured in the shootout.
On January 15, four policemen were injured and two police vehicles damaged in outer Delhi when a cattle thieves from Mewat region opened fire and pelted stones at personnel who were chasing them.