The Ghaziabad police on Friday arrested two members of a gang in the sensational shootout case at a wedding ceremony in Sahibabad on November 18, in which four persons were killed. The arrested have been identified as Vikram Dhama and Haria Bhati, members of Randeep Bhati’s gang.
Police said 16 other members of the gang are at large. The weapon of offence, an AK-47 rifle, is yet to be recovered.
According to the police, the gang led by Randeep had allegedly hired two criminals for R20 lakh to eliminate rival Sundar Bhati, who was expected to attend a relative’s wedding in Ghaziabad on the fateful day.
The decade-long rivalry between the two groups has so far claimed the lives of about 16 men from both sides, police said. It became worse after their interests grew in extortion business in the Sikanderabad area.
The arrested disclosed that Randeep had hired Dharmendra Lala and Sukram Pal Bhagat to eliminate Sundar. The two carried out extortion activities in western UP, Haryana and Uttrakhand. The UP Police have declared a reward of R1 lakh on the arrest of each of them.
On the evening of November 18, Randeep along with his 10 armed men reached the wedding venue. “Sundar’s men opened fire when they saw members of the rival gang. Randeep’s men reiterated and four persons were killed in the shootout. However, Sundar managed to escape,” SSP Raghubir Lal said.
The exchange of bullets continued for around 20 minutes, after which Randeep and his men fled. According to sources, hundreds of rounds were exchanged during the incident, but police claim only 30 rounds were fired.
Later, the police recovered 15 used cartridges from AK-47 rifles and 15 other from 9-mm pistols. “The AK-47 is with Sundar Bhati, who is hiding in Delhi or Haryana,” Lal said.
Two cases against the groups have been registered at the Sahibabad police station.