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The encounter that shook Bangalore

K.V. Subramanya recounts the first encounter killing in the city

THE DEATH of Abdul Razack, an accomplice of the Mumbai underworld don Chhota Rajan in an encounter with the police in Ashoknagar police station limits in the early hours of Friday brings back memories of the first encounter killing that took place in Bangalore 15 years ago.

Though nearly 20 people, including militants and Mumbai gangsters, have been killed in encounters with the police so far, the most sensational of them was the death of "Station" Shekar who was shot by the police at Kammanahalli in Banaswadi police station limits on July 1, 1989.

That killing grabbed much attention for two reasons: it was the first such incident in the city and 10 police officials were booked on the charge of murdering Shekar who was an accused in several cases of murder, attempt to murder, rape, robbery and extortion.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry was also ordered into the encounter killing.

Shekar was a close associate of the then reigning underworld don M.P. Jayaraj.

Shekar, who owned a travel agency in the Majestic area, was also said to be the kingpin of the city's travel mafia. He tortured porters at the city railway station to bring tourists to his travel agency.

Extortion

As a senior police official recollects, Shekar and his accomplice, Kalapattar alias Ganesh, extorted money from owners of clubs and also live-band joints that were new to the city then.

Explaining the events that preceded the encounter, the official says Shekar and his father murdered their rival Rajendra in front of the city railway station in full public view.

They had washed the blood-stained weapons in the fountain in front of the station and escaped in an autorickshaw.

A few days later, Shekar, Kalapattar and their accomplices clashed with Shivajinagar's Chhota Pailwan's gang at a live-band joint on Mahatma Gandhi Road over the playing of a song.

Team formed

After this incident, a special team comprising the then sub-inspectors, B.B. Ashok Kumar, Lava Kumar and N.D. Mulla, among others, was constituted to catch Shekar.

On a tip-off, the police traced Shekar to a house in Kammanahalli. After seeing the police through a window, Shekar came out of the house and opened fire at them with a Chinese-made .33 pistol. Mr. Ashok Kumar, the then Vyalikaval sub-inspector, retaliated and Shekar was killed.

After the encounter, Asha, a dancer at a live-band joint in the Majestic area, filed a complaint at the 9th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court that the police had handcuffed Shekar and later gunned him down. She claimed that she was present at the Kammanahalli house when Shekar was killed.

It is said that the underworld don Jayaraj had made Asha to file the complaint through his lawyer, Vardhamanaiah, who was later shot dead along with Jayaraj by his rivals.

On Asha's complaint, a case of murder was registered against 10 police officials and Mr. Ashok Kumar, now the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Ulsoor Gate), was named as the first accused. The magistrate also ordered a CBI inquiry. Subsequently, the High Court quashed the magistrate's order for a CBI probe. On the directions of the High Court, the then Deputy Commissioner of Police (East), T. Jayaprakash, conducted an inquiry. Finally, the High Court dismissed the case.

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