A botched attempt to arrest a notorious criminal from Uttar Pradesh, who shot at and injured several policemen before escaping last weekend, comes as an embarrassment for Bhopal police, raising questions about their ability to carry out such operations at short notice.
The local police have privately given several reasons for the failure to capture Anshu Dixit, who was wanted by the UP special task force (STF), including putting the blame on the UP police for not sharing all information about the operation.
But the city police’s lack of preparedness has been underlined in some operational details emerging now, including the fact that they kept their weapons in another vehicle, making them sitting ducks for Dixit and his accomplices.
"Such was the situation that a policeman had to hide under the four-wheeler to save himself when Dixit was spraying bullets," said a Bhopal policeman on condition of anonymity.
Dixit and his accomplices were outnumbered by the UP and MP policemen, still the outlawed managed to escape after injuring some of the policemen. The operation was carried out in a public place but luckily no bystander was injured.
While the UP police had intercepted Dixit, the city police were expected to monitor and stay on top of the operation that was carried out in their own backyard, many official feel.
The failure of police, especially, when the team included half-a-dozen UP STF personnel, is not the first such case of botched operation.
On April 22, policemen tried to arrest Fahim in Mangalwara, but failed, leaving a policeman injured when the criminal stabbed him and escaped.
In the case of Dixit, a policeman who was present on the spot during the operation said he never thought it could happen and he was fearful for his life, he told HT.
What has followed the weekend incident is a blame game between the UP and Bhopal police.
Inspector General of Police, (IG), Bhopal range, Yogesh Choudhary, said that the UP STF had informed the Crime Branch that they just wanted to go on a recce.
"It was not a joint operation as they wanted to trace the person's location," he said.
Choudhary further said the UP STF shouldn't have tried to conduct the operation in a public spot. Regarding the failure to catch Dixit and his brother, the IG said separate teams had been formed for the task.
The UP STF officers refute the charges.
UP STF officer S Anand UP said they had shared all information on Dixit with the Bhopal police.
"There is a possibility that sometimes an operation can fail. The Bhopal police took it casually", said Anand, a Superintendent of Police with the UP STF.