Gangster injured in encounter

Kendrapara: A gangster was grievously injured in an encounter with a police patrol squad near about 20 km from here on the National Highway early here today.

History-sheeter Abdul Rafiq Khan alias Raja of a crime syndicate fired two rounds from his revolver at the NH patrolling team after which police fired at him in self-defence at Laxmi Narayanpur traffic junction, said Kendrapara Superintendent of Police Narasingha Bhol.

Khan, facing trial in several criminal cases, was taken into custody after two bullets hit his legs. He was later shifted to S C B Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. "On a tip-off that Khan was planning to commit robbery on the highway, the patrol squad chased him. As the bike-borne criminal tried to flee, he fired two rounds at the policemen.

The squad comprising about a dozen policemen had a narrow escape. In self-defence, squad members retaliated and the gunshots hit the target," the SP said.

Khan was involved in extortion attempt of a trader at Oldi marketplace under Derabish police station jurisdiction. Besides a case of murder, he was wanted in about five other criminal offences.

Khan, who had broken away from a crime syndicate to form his own gang, was a sharpshooter and was actively involved in extorting traders and contractors in Kendrapara and neighbouring Paradip Port township, police said.

In view of the ensuing three-tier panchayat polls, security has been stepped up across the district to keep crime mongers at bay. Majority of gangsters active in these parts are now behind the bar.