The seventh accused involved in a fierce encounter with the police in Pitampura here in the early hours of January 19 has been arrested by the Crime Branch. One of the accused was killed and another injured in the retaliatory firing by the police.

The accused has been identified as Hasrat (21), a resident of neighbouring Ghaziabad. The incident took place around 2 a.m. on January 19 when eight members of the gang were fleeing in a mini-truck laden with stolen cattle.

When police teams chased them, the criminals opened fire injuring a policeman and damaging three police vehicles. The vehicle was, however, brought to a halt in Pitampura after its rear tyres were punctured in the police firing. While one of the alleged gang members, Yakub, succumbed to a gunshot injury in the face, four others were arrested at the spot. Three members of the gang -- Tasleem, Hasrat and Asif -- had then managed to escape.

Tasleem was arrested a day after the encounter. While raids were being mounted to track down the other two, the police received a tip-off that Hasrat had been spotted in North-East Delhi. Subsequently he was arrested near the Seelampur metro station on Wednesday. A country-made firearm was also purportedly seized from him. The police have obtained his two days’ custody for questioning.

“Accused Hasrat is the youngest among six siblings. Owing to poor financial condition, he could not pursue his studies. He worked as a casual labourer. He came in contact with criminal elements, following which he was found allegedly involved in two cases under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act. He had joined the cattle-lifting gang about six months ago,” said a police officer.

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