HARYANA-based gangster Ajay Kumar Kannu was shot dead Thursday in a joint operation of Haryana and Punjab police in Jaga Ram Teerath village in Punjab’s Bathinda district. Kannu hit headlines in May when he allegedly shot dead three people “who he thought had not voted for his brother” in Haryana panchayat polls. A native of Krewari village in Haryana’s Sonipat district, he carried a bounty of Rs 5 lakh on his head.
According to police, Kannu and his associates Rakesh, Deepak and Mohit reached Jaga Ram Teerath village early Thursday morning. Bhola Singh, a self-styled godman who lived in a small room on the village cremation ground, had reportedly offered them shelter.
According to police, Bhola had a narcotics case against him in Haryana. He reportedly met Kannu while the two were in Bhiwani jail. Bhola is learnt to have come to Bathinda village about six months back posing as a “godman”. The villagers had given him a room to stay on the cremation ground.
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A police party from Sonipat, accompanied by personnel from Bathinda police, had information of the gangsters’ movement and reached the cremation ground a few hours after them on Thursday. DSP Rahul Dev, who was leading the 20-member police team, said: “We had been tracking Ajay’s phone. He reached the spot around 4 am. We reached them nearly three hours later and saw his car parked outside the Baba’s house. On spotting us, Ajay and his associates tried to run away.” Dev added that Ajay then fired thrice from his 9 mm pistol. He was shot twice when the police party retaliated. “Ajay was taken to the civil hospital in Talwandi. From there, he was referred to Bathinda, but he died on the way,” he added. Kannu’s three associates and Bhola Singh have been arrested. According to police, Kannu’s brother Sanjay ran for the post of sarpanch in the recent Haryana panchayat polls. but lost by 45 votes. Soon after, Sanjay and Kannu’s father died in a road accident. Following the mishap, Kannu started attacking people who, according to him, did not vote for his brother, said police. On May 9, he allegedly shot at villagers Virender and Sunil. While Virender died, Sunil is still in hospital. On May 12, Kannu allegedly shot dead Major Sushil Chhikara’s father Jagbir Singh (57) and his brother Anil Chhikara (25). The gangster also allegedly attacked the village Sarpanch, but he escaped unhurt. Haryana police first announced a cash prize of Rs 50,000 for information about Kannu. The bounty was recently raised to Rs 5 lakh. Earlier, Kannu was booked in several cases, including those of attempt to murder, robbery and snatching. In many of these cases, he had been acquitted. He was jailed for a year under an Arms Act case lodged on September 27, 2009.