Lucknow, Apr 19 (UNI) The Special Task Force of the Uttar Pradesh police today achieved a major breakthrough in the BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai murder case, when it gunned down notorious gangster Firdaus in an encounter in Mumbai.
STF officials said the encounter took place on the Malad Link Road in Goregaon area around 1630 hrs. ''We took the assistance of the Mumbai police which helped us locate Firdaus,'' said an STF official.
Firdaus was shot dead when he opened fire on the joint team, after being challenged.
Firdaus was wanted in the murder of BJP MLA Krishnand Rai on November 29, 2005 in Bhanwarkol area of Ghazipur district of East UP. The MLA and seven of his supporters were shot dead with assault rifles when he was travelling to attend a pre-marriage ceremony in the adjoining Ballia district.
Controversial Independent MLA Mukhtar Ansari is a prime accused in the case and is behind bars. Police claim that gangster Munna Bajrangi who was assigned the task of eliminating the Mohammadabad MLA, had used his shooter Firdaus to carry out the crime.
Soon after the crime, the UP police had alleged that Kalashnikovs smuggled from Bihar were used to kill the MLA -- who too had a criminal background.
Firdaus had over 25 criminal cases pending against him, mostly relating to murders and attempted murders.
It was after the murder of Rai that the BJP had launched Nyaya Yatra across the state to protest the crime. The then BJP general secretary Rajnath Singh had sat on a dharna in Varanasi before launching the yatra, flagged off by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Rai was alleged to be a frontman for the Brijesh Singh gang.
Brijesh, with a network covering Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, till recently controlled Varanasi, the commercial nerve centre of eastern Uttar Pradesh with its silk and carpet industries and coal and railway contracts.
Suspected to have gone underground in 2000 after an Interpol red corner notice, Brijesh operated through several upper-caste dons, of whom Rai was alleged to be one.
As Rai emerged stronger with Bhumihar and Rajput support, Mukhtar Ansari perceived a threat. Ansari, who survived a bid on his life on January 14, 2005 was unsure of his strength outside Ghazipur and Mau.
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