JAIPUR: Anandpal Singh, a gangster allegedly involved in several cases of arms smuggling and murder, and two other criminals today escaped and three policemen sustained injuries when unidentified persons opened fire at a van in which they was being taken to Ajmer jail after being produced in local court in Didwana town in Rajasthan.
An alert was sounded in the state following the incident which occurred this evening between Gangwa and Khokhar village on Parbatsar Mega highway in Nagaur district.
"Anandpal Singh, Subhash Moond and another criminal managed to escape after three men who came in a vehicle opened fire at the police van. The criminals were being taken back to Ajmer after hearing in a case in Didwana court of Nagaur," IG Ajmer range Malini Agrawal told PTI.
She said there were over a dozen policemen in the team headed by an Inspector which was escorting the van and three of them received bullet injuries.
"It was not immediately clear how many bullets were fired by policemen and which weapons the miscreants had. A search and combing operation has been started in the area and separate teams have been rushed to different places in search of the accused," she said.
Another police official said alert also has been sounded to the police in other districts. Meanwhile, Opposition Congress alleged that Singh had political patronage, the state government rejected the claim saying all efforts were on to trace him and the other criminals.
"This incident is a big failure of the police and shameful for the state. It appears that there was a big lapse in security which also reflects intelligence failure. This cannot take place without the involvement at higher level," Leader of Opposition in state Assembly Rameshwar Dudi said.
He alleged that Singh was operating his gang from jail and had high-level political patronage. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Rajendra Rathore rejected the allegations, saying, "Congress has the habit of levelling false and baseless allegations. The state government is fully capable of catching him again and the incident will be thoroughly probed by a team".
Singh is alleged to have been involved in cases of smuggling of liquor and arms, murder, extortion among others. He was arrested with another criminal from a farmhouse near Jaipur with one AK-47 rifle and over 500 live cartridges in November 2012.
He had allegedly killed Jivan Ram Godara in Didwana town of Nagaur district in 2006. Godara was involved in the liquor business and was politically active at the local level. Singh was also allegedly involved in the murder of a Jat Mahasabha leader Gopal Fogawat in Sikar district which had created tension in the area and the Jat community had sat on a dharna demanding arrest of the culprits, who they alleged, had political patronage.
Another police officer said that Singh had allegedly received some food or sweet from known persons in Didwana court premises which he later offered to the police party which was escorting him to Ajmer jail. After consuming the food in the van, many policemen felt sleepy and in the meantime the masked accused who were in a Bolero vehicle opened fire at the police facilitating escape of the three criminals. Eleven policemen, including three who received bullet injuries, have been admitted to JLN hospital in Ajmer.