Varanasi: A wanted criminal was shot dead during an encounter with police near Sarnath museum here, police said on Wednesday. Mahendra Singh, who was carrying a reward of Rs 15,000 on his head by Madhya Pradesh police, was speeding on a motorcycle last night when special operation group personnel laid a trap and shot him dead after he fired on them in a bid to escape, Superintendent of Police, city, Rajiv Mehrotra said.

The unidentified associate of the slain criminal managed to escape, he said adding a sophisticated pistol belonging to Singh was recovered from the spot. The 28-year-old criminal, a native of Chhahi village was wanted in connection with dozens criminal cases registered against him in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh, Mehrotra said.