It is the first time constable Naresh Kumar had shot a man. As he hauled the body of wanted gangster Vikas Dalal into an e-rickshaw, he saw Dalal s face smeared in blood and said a silent prayer. He was a wanted gangster, but in that moment he was a human being. I did not see him as a criminal and wanted him to survive. But I am not ashamed of what I did; it was my duty, Naresh told The Indian Express.
On Sunday afternoon, Naresh intervened in a gang war which played out in a busy intersection below the Dwarka Mor Metro station.
According to police, a former associate of the Manjeet Mahal gang, which is active in South West Delhi, was intercepted in his white Ritz car by three armed assailants, including Dalal, in a Maruti Swift and a two-wheeler. The assailants shot him multiple times in full public view.
While their target, Parveen Gehlot, died, constable Naresh rushed to the scene on hearing gunshots and shot Dalal. His associates tried to get him into the car but eventually gave up and drove away. Police have seized the bike used by one of the accused, who wore a helmet.
The owner of the bike is a resident of Mitraon village… the two-wheeler was stolen days before the shooting. The bike was also used in multiple recces by the accused. The Swift had a Rajasthan number plate, which is not visible in CCTV footage. We think it may be a fake number plate, meant to throw off investigators, said DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse.
Police have constituted nine teams, including one that will be sent to Rajasthan.
We have some leads on the attackers but until arrests are made, we cannot be sure. The man in the Ritz, Gehlot, was released from jail in March 2018. He fell out with his former leader while in prison. Dalal was heading the gang and they reportedly had a falling out over finances, Alphonse said.
Constable Naresh, meanwhile, said he is not worried about reprisals in South West Delhi, gangs have been known for revenge killings since the 1980s. I come from a family of police officers. My son recently joined the Delhi Police as a constable. He is proud of me. Everyone in our family celebrated. I have done what two generations of my family could not, Naresh said.
The PCR staffer joined the Delhi Police in 1991 and served in various districts till 2000. I have participated in raids in several dangerous areas. But this was different. I had no back up, it was just me and my presence of mind, he said. The constable said he had under five minutes to take aim and fire at the three armed men. As per his report to the police, Kumar shot Dalal when he saw him point his gun towards him. He also told his superiors that he shot another man in the leg.
Naresh did not have a beat partner who could provide covering fire or relay information to police. If I had at least two men, we could have arrested all of them, he said.
Instead, it was just him and his service pistol. For a moment, he said he thought the assailants would kill him after his bullet fell to the ground while reloading. Precious time was wasted as I was reloading. I saw them speed past me; that feeling is hard to sink in, Naresh said.
The Delhi Police is considering a reward and a promotion for Naresh. These days, the morale of the force is low. We get blamed in the media quite often. But if we do something good, we must speak out. People must know that we are here to protect and serve, he said.