A criminal from Rajasthan, who was an accused in the murder of cricketer Suresh Raina's relatives in Punjab in 2020, was killed in an encounter with the Uttar Pradesh Police in Shahpur village of Muzaffarnagar district on Saturday, police said.
The accused, identified as Rashid a.k.a. Sipahiya, carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head and had nearly a dozen criminal cases registered against him.
Vinay Kumar Gautam, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Budhana), said, "Rashid was hiding in Moradabad and had come to Muzaffarnagar to execute his next crime. He was intercepted but he opened fire and was killed in retaliatory firing on Saturday. Station House Officer of Shahpur, Bablu Kumar, sustained a bullet injury. Rashid's associate managed to escape."
Muzaffarnagar Senior Superintendent of Police, Sanjeev Suman, said, "We are now scanning records to collect more information about his activities."
In August 2020, Raina's uncle Ashok Kumar, his son Kaushal Kumar, wife Asha Rani and two more members of the family were attacked by the 'Chhah Maar gang' (part of the notorious Bawariya gang) from Uttar Pradesh at Tharial in Punjab's Pathankot district.
Kumar died on the spot while his wife and son succumbed to injuries later at a hospital.
The gang of robbers had allegedly barged into their house and beaten up the family with sticks before decamping with cash and other valuables.
Following the incident, an FIR was registered against unidentified men at Shahpur Kandi police station in Pathankot under IPC sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting with weapons), 149 (offence committed in prosecution of common object), 458 (housebreaking), 459 (grievous injury due to housebreaking) and 460 (causing death due to housebreaking).
Two more sections 302 (murder) and 307 (murder attempt) were later added to the FIR.
Raina had pulled out from the 2020 IPL season after hearing the news of the attack on his relatives, and had requested the then Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to arrest the culprits soon.
In July 2021, police had arrested the gang's alleged mastermind, Chajju from Uttar Pradesh's Bareilly.
In September 2022, two more men were nabbed following a gun battle in Muzaffarnagar. The police later came to know that the men were wanted by the Punjab Police in connection with the cricketer's relatives' murder.
The police spokesman said that more than 12 accused related to this particular case have been arrested so far.