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UP cops kill India's most wanted bandit
Polly Wilson in Lucknow | July 22, 2007 14:50 IST
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati's much hyped crackdown on outlaws bore fruit in a big way on Sunday, when a team of top cops of the state gunned down Dadua, the most wanted dacoit in India.
Uttar Pradesh's Special Task Force succeeded in eliminating the bandit along with 10 key members of his gang in a fierce operation that continued through the night in the dense Markundi forests of Manikpur in Chitrakoot district, bordering Madhya Pradesh, about 300 Km from Lucknow.
56-year-old Dadua, whose real name was Shiv Kumar Patel, carried a reward of Rs 5 lakh.
Also killed was Dadua's right hand man Angad Patel, wanted in 75 cases. Patel carried a reward of Rs 50,000 on his head.
Having been on the official list of dreaded brigands for 32 years, Dadua continued to elude the cops since 1982, when the first major offensive was launched against him. For decades , the police could not even procure a photograph of the bandit, who had as many as 241 cases of heinous crimes including murder, extortion and kidnapping registered against him in UP alone.
"The Madhya Pradesh police had also announced a reward on him as there was another long list of criminal cases pending against him in that state," STF Additional Director-General Shailja Kant Misra said.
Describing him as the most wanted Indian bandit after the slain Veerappan who gave sleepless nights to people and the police of three South Indian state until he was eliminated three years ago, Misra said, "This was among the biggest operations in the country -- Veerappan being the only parallel to it."
In the absence of his photo in police records, top cops got local villagers to confirm Dadua's identity. State police chief Vikram Singh and STF chief Misra flew down to the spot by a special helicopter soon.
The 250-km forest stretch spread across the UP-MP border was the haven for the notorious bandit.
Several special operations carried out to nab him proved futile, largely because of his amazingly popular local support. Many hailed him as Robin Hood as he would often rob the rich to feed the poor, particularly those belonging to his own socially backward Kurmi caste.
However, it was his political connections that gave him immunity from the law. "If at one point of time, he drew political shelter from a Congress leader, later it was a Samajwadi leader who came to his rescue, and at one point he even managed inroads in to the Bahujan Samaj Party," a former home secretary, who did not want to be identified, said.
Apparently, it was his habit of switching political loyalties that eventually cost him dear.
Having bagged a BSP ticket for his brother to contest the local 'gram pradhan' (village head) election in 2001, he fell out with the party after its exit from power in 2003, when he once again found shelter in the Samajwadi Party.
His younger brother Bal Kumar contested unsuccessfully on a Samajwadi Party ticket for a state assembly seat from Pratapgarh in the April elections. Dadua's son is the chairman of Chitrakoot Zila Parishad as a Samajwadi Party nominee.
The Mayawati government made its stance loud and clear on day one - to rid the state of crime and criminals.