Woman sub-inspector in shoot-out operation to nab two men on Delhi Police’s most wanted list

Published on Mar 26, 2021 02:08 AM IST

Sub-inspector Priyanka Sharma and assistant commissioner of police Pankaj Singh were allegedly fired upon by the two men, but their bulletproof vests saved them.

A view of the street where two wanted criminals were injured in an encounter with Delhi Police Crime Branch, at Pragati Maidan, near Bhairon Mandir, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
A view of the street where two wanted criminals were injured in an encounter with Delhi Police Crime Branch, at Pragati Maidan, near Bhairon Mandir, in New Delhi, India, on Thursday, March 25, 2021. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

A shoot-out led by a crime branch team comprising a woman sub-inspector, in the early hours of Thursday on Bhairon Marg in central Delhi, ended in the arrest of two “most wanted” men, who carried a reward on their arrest, the police said later in the day.

Sub-inspector Priyanka Sharma and assistant commissioner of police Pankaj Singh were allegedly fired upon by the two men, but their bulletproof vests saved them and they went on to arrest (alleged) gangster Rohit Choudhary and his accomplice, Parveen (single name only), the police said. Choudhary, 35, carried a cash reward of 3.5 lakh on his arrest, while Praveen carried a reward of 2 lakh.

On Thursday, the photograph of Sharma, the only woman among 10 policemen, wearing a bulletproof vest was widely circulated on social media -- the novelty being that although Delhi Police has around 8,000 women personnel, it is rare for a woman officer to be involved in a shoot-out. Women personnel are mostly posted in the traffic wing, at police stations or with other units. A few women IPS officers are also heading districts as deputy commissioners or are leading teams in the crime branch.

Police said 35-year-old Sharma had joined the Delhi Police in 2010. She was recruited as a constable, but she later cleared an exam and was appointed as sub-inspector. She started working with the crime branch in 2019 and has spent nearly three years with the unit.

Retired Delhi Police officer Ashok Chand, who served the force for around 35 years and headed the special cell and crime branch, said in his knowledge, a woman officer has been part of a shoot-out for the first time. “Women have always assisted search parties and surveillance teams in such cases. However, for a shoot-out, this may be a first,” Chand said.

Police said the two men were involved in multiple cases of murder, attempts to murder, kidnapping, extortion, illegal use of arms and assault. Last year, in October, Choudhary was also booked under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act, 1999, police said.

Following their arrest, police have also recovered two SUVs -- a black Endeavour and a white Fortuner. Police said the Fortuner was a bulletproof vehicle.

Additional commissioner of police (crime) Shibesh Singh said his teams had been keeping a watch on the movements of both Choudhary and Parveen for the past few months.

“On Thursday, following a tipoff that the suspects would be coming near Bhairon Temple on Bhairon Marg, a trap was laid. Around 5am, a blue Toyota Glanza was spotted approaching the police barricade. The Glanza driver tried to break through the barricades and when our team tried to reach the car, the occupants opened fire at our team,” Singh said.

While one bullet hit ACP Singh, another struck S-I Sharma. However, since both officers were kitted out in bulletproof vests, both escaped with minor injuries.

The additional commissioner said his team returned the fire. Both occupants got out of the car and started fleeing when they were hit by a bullet each in their legs.

“Both men were caught and we recovered two loaded semi-automatic pistols from them. They were taken to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital for treatment and were arrested for attempt to murder and under other relevant sections,” the officer said.

Singh said a total of six rounds were fired during the encounter, of which four were fired by the police team. During the search of their car, police also recovered several fake identity documents, mobile phones and internet dongles. The identity documents were used by the men to stay at different hotels and mobile phones and dongles were used for communicating with the other gang members, police said.

Later on Thursday, a video was widely shared on social media in which two women, identifying themselves as wives of Choudhary and Parveen, claimed that their husbands had been picked up by the police a day before from Palwal, Haryana. The women purportedly said if anything happens to their spouses, the Delhi Police will be held responsible.

HT could not independently verify the authenticity of the video or the claims made by the women.

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