LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh police gunned down don-turned-politician and BSP legislator Mukhtar Ansari's aide who was an accused in the 2005 killing of BJP leader Krishnanand Rai in Lucknow early Sunday, officials said.
Rakesh Pandey alias Hanuman Pandey, a sharpshooter of mafia dons Ansari and Munna Bajrangi, was killed in Sarojini Nagar at 4.20 am, they said.
The Special Task Force said in a statement that the criminal, who carried a reward of Rs 50,000, suffered gunshot injuries during the encounter and succumbed during treatment.
Pandey was allegedly involved in the killing of Rai, the then BJP legislator from Mohammadabad Assembly constituency in Ghazipur, in November 2005.
A group of criminals carrying AK-47 rifles had fired more than 400 rounds on Rai's cavalcade on a narrow bridge and killed seven people, including the BJP leader.
Pandey was involved in the attack, the STF said.
Around 12 cases were registered against Pandey, who was out on bail, it added.
Police have recovered two pistols, ammunition, two mobile phones from the encounter site and an SUV bearing the number 3602 on a broken number plate.
The STF claimed Pandey was among the most reliable men of Mau MLA Ansari.
It said it received a tip that Pandey had been seen in Lucknow's Gudumba area and was collecting weapons.
"When the STF team reached Gudumba, it was learnt that the criminals are heading towards Kanpur Road," it said.
Early Sunday, police tried to stop the SUV in which Pandey was travelling but he opened fire at the police party.
"However, the SUV collided with a roadside tree," the STF said.
Pandey was injured in the exchange of fire and succumbed at Sarojini Nagar community health centre.
Another criminal fled from the spot, it said.