Uttar Pradesh police shot dead dreaded dacoit Mahendra Pasi, also known as Dhoni, in an encounter at Phulpur on the outskirts of Allahabad on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday. Another gang member escaped in the darkness while a policeman was injured, police said.

“Police Inspector Sanjay Rai sustained a bullet injury on his left arm in the shootout with the dacoit kingpin who headed the feared Goppa gang and carried a cash reward of Rs 80,000 on his head,” Allahabad senior superintendent of police Nitin Tiwari said.

Tiwari said a hunt was on for the escaped gang member who is suspected to be armed with a rifle.

Inspector Sanjay Rai of Phulpur police station was leading a routine patrol when they spotted two men on a motorcycle and signalled them to stop. But the duo tried to flee. Police claimed that when they tried to chase them, they opened fire forcing the cops to retaliate.

Following the shootout, the police department rushed additional force to the spot with the SSP himself leading them.

The firing went on for around 10 minutes during which around 15 rounds were fired — eight by the dacoits and seven by the police. The exchange left Mahendra Pasi dead on the spot while Inspector Rai sustained a bullet injury on his arm. He was rushed to the nearby Phulpur community health centre (CHC) and then taken to SRN Hospital where he is undergoing treatment. He is out of danger.

Police seized the motorcycle the dacoits were travelling on. They also seized a pistol and many live bullets from the slain dacoit.

SSP Tiwari said police had received information of some criminals becoming active in the area and were planning to target traders and businessmen and this had resulted in local cops and sleuths of the Crime Branch keeping a vigil there and intensifying patrolling.

Police said the Mahendra Pasi gang is a dreaded name in both UP and neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. Pasi had over 30 cases including three of murders and many of kidnapping and extortion registered against him in the two states.

The UP government had announced a cash reward of Rs 50,000 while the MP government had announced a reward of Rs 30,000 on his head. His gang was believed to be well-armed, having even AK-47 in its arsenal. In March this year, the gang was involved in an encounter with the police in neighbouring Chitrakoot district.

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