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Wednesday, September 23, 1998

Gangster "hired" to kill UP CM shot dead in encounter

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE  
NEW DELHI, September 22: Notorious gangster Sri Prakash Shukla, reportedly hired to kill UP Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, was killed today in an encounter in the Ghaziabad district of Uttar Pradesh. Two of his accomplices were also killed in the encounter at Indira Nagar at around 2 pm. According to the police, the gangster is said to have received Rs 6 crore to kill the CM.

The police said that two .38 bore revolvers, 14 live and 12 empty cartridges and cash amounting to Rs 50,000 have been recovered from their possession.

Shukla has been named in at least 26 cases of heinous crime including murder and kidnapping. He is alleged to have killed Bihar ex-minister Brij Vihari Prasad at Sanjay Gandhi Hospital in Patna on June 13 this year. The UP Chief Minister has announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to each member of the special task force (STF) team. He said the government would also consider out-of-turn promotions for them. Also, the reward of Rs 2 lakh on Shukla's head would be distributed among the team members.

Shukla along with his associates Anuj Pratap Singh and Sudhir Tripathi were passing through Vasundhara Enclave in a blue Ceilo when a joint team of the UP and Delhi police reportedly caught up with them. The STF team (constituted to fight mafia gangs in UP) had been chasing the gangsters from Delhi. In the ensuing shootout, the police said that at least 45 rounds were fired by them, while the gangsters fired around 12 rounds after which the car rammed into some trees bordering the road.

The car was riddled with bullets. Two packets of incense sticks, a fountain Pepsi plastic cup containing a few blood stained papers and glass were lying on the rear seat of the car. There were no blood stains on the car seats. Despite a heavy downpour, there were streams of blood flowing on the road even after three hours of the encounter.

The investigating officials had received a tip-off that Shukla had been seen moving around in the capital region since the past five days and had rented accommodation in Vasant Kunj in south-west Delhi. The police said that Shukla had intended to fly to Ranchi this morning but had instead decided to go to Ghaziabad.

Additional DIG (UP) Ajai Rai Sharma told Express Newsline: ``Shukla was involved in some of the most sensational cases. Though he loved AK-47s, he could kill with any small weapon as well. The police was under a lot of pressure to arrest him. Though Shukla had been operating since 1993 he had intensified his operations since the past three years. His area of operations stretched from Calcutta to Jaipur through Lucknow, Muzaffarpur and Patna''.

According to the police, Shukla's first act of crime involved the murder of a boy, Anil Trpathi, who had teased his sister in Daudpur. He then fled the country for Bangkok. Back in India after two years, he started working for various gangs. He worked for the Suraj Bhan gang for a long time and is said to have eliminated many of his enemies.

He is alleged to have killed a sub-inspector of the UP police, R.K Singh, during an encounter in Lucknow this year. The police said that Shukla had extorted large sums of money from several industrialists in UP and Bihar and that he often worked in association with Suraj Bhan.

According to the police, he used to interfere in the floating of tender contracts by the Indian Railways, and in the process killed whosoever obstructed his moves. Shukla had allegedly murdered eminent UP proprietor Komal Rastogi and kidnapped his son Kunal in May this year. He kept Kunal in custody for 36 days and demanded more than Rs 1 crore for his release. He had also allegedly kidnapped noted Bihar builder Mulraj Arora this year.

According to the police, ``Shukla never demanded ransom below Rs 50 lakh. All his deals were between Rs 50 lakh and a few crores''.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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