A week after a man from a gang of 'seemingly Mewati criminals' was gunned down in an encounter by a police party at northwest Delhi, investigators have stumbled upon two substantial disappointments.
The police are yet to lay their hands on the gang's leader, one Asif, who tipped them off and they have found that the gang has nothing to do with Mewat. They were apparently following the 'Mewati Modus Operandi' to steer clear of suspicion.
"Their interrogation has revealed that they are, in fact, residents of Masuri in Ghaziabad - an address which we initially thought was being used just to mislead us," admitted an officer.
"It turns out they're just a regular gang of cattle-snatchers, who found the way Mewati criminals operate 'interesting' and 'fool-proof'," he added.
In the early hours of January 19, a young cattle snatcher, later identified as Yakub, was gunned down in 'self-defence' while a policeman sustained injuries at the conclusion of a dramatic, hour-long armed pursuit on the streets of northwest Delhi's Pitampura.
Yakub, the Delhi Police claimed, was among nine gun-toting cattle thieves - who seemed to exhibit the 'general tendencies and modus operandi followed by criminal gangs from Mewat' -- who had engaged police in the 16-kilometre-long chase around 2am.
"The TATA 407 which the gang was using was spotted speeding down KN Katju Marg soon after we had got a call regarding the theft of cows accompanied by firing," said Tejendra Luthra, joint commissioner of police (northern range).
Luthra said the vehicle had been spotted by a police team which then attempted to stop it. Instead of halting, however, the truck accelerated further and jumped traffic signals on the outer Ring Road in a desperate bid to flee as the men occupying its rear started pelting stones and opened fire on the police vehicles.
"Asif and one Hazrat were among three of them who managed to get off the truck and are absconding. The arrested men claim they took to the 'Mewati style' because Asif had been involved with gangs actually from Mewat and 'liked' the way they operated," the officer said.