IN A major breakthrough, special task force (STF) sleuths gunned down dreaded gangster Hafizullah and his confidante Muslim in an exchange of fire in Gomti Nagar on Friday night. While Hafiz was carrying a reward of Rs 50,000 from the government, a reward of Rs 5000 was announced on Muslim.
Additional SP Rajesh Pandey led the STF team in the operation. Two .38 bore revolvers and a .315 bore country-made pistol were recovered from the possession of the criminals.
Senior superintendent of police (SSP) STF SK Bhagat stated that Hafizullah and Muslim, natives of Ghosiyana Afzalpur village in Kaushambi district, were active in Kaushambi, Allahabad, Pratapgarh, Fatehpur districts. Hafiz was heading a gang engaged in contract killing, dacoity and murder and kidnapping in these districts.
Hafiz, who stepped into crime in 1975, was last arrested in 1987. About 42 cases of heinous crimes were registered against Hafiz while 26 cases were pending against Muslim.
The SSP STF assigned the job to collect information about Hafiz and his gang to ASP Pandey and his team following a tip-off that the gangsters were planning to execute some heinous crime in or around Lucknow.
In the course of surveillance, ASP Pandey laid a trap in Gomti Nagar after he came to know about Hafiz’s movement in the area. The STF team followed the gangster and intercepted Hafiz along with his aide near Gomti Nagar railway station.
Seeing a posse of armed men in plain clothes, Hafiz and his associate opened indiscriminate fire while trying to run away towards the railway tracks. ASP Pandey and his team including the STF commandoes retaliated and killed the criminal duo on the spot.
SSP STF Bhagat said Hafiz’s terror had such impact that PAC personnel had been camping at the gangster’s native village for the last several years. A police outpost was also established in the village as Hafiz was extorting money from villagers and contractors in the area.
Bhagat further said Hafiz was wanted in 16 cases of murder and dacoity and the police had carried out procedure of property attachment against him in 14 cases so far. He was absconding for the last 18 years.