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Two wanted men killed in encounter

Staff Correspondent

The two alleged contract killers were wanted in connection with several crimes committed in Karnataka and Maharashtra

BIJAPUR: The alleged supari (contract) killers, Khajappa Namdev Hosmani and Yalgurappa Thimmanna Bandivaddar, who belonged to Gulburga district, were shot dead by the police near Minchinal Railway Station about 25 km from here in the early hours on Tuesday.

Both of them were once associates of the supari killer, Chandappa Harijan, who was killed in an encounter six years ago. They were wanted by State police and the Maharashtra police in several cases of murder, extortion, criminal intimidation, kidnap and life threat.

Three policemen, including Bijapur Rural Circle Inspector Chandrashekhar, suffered injuries in the three-hour combing operation that culminated in an encounter at around 3 a.m. Two country-made pistols and four live bullets have been recovered from the encounter site. A police jeep has been damaged.

It all started with the two firing at Shankrappa Sahukar Honwad of Buyyar village in Indi taluk at Gunaki Cross on National Highway 13 at around 9.30 p.m. on Monday.

According to the complaint lodged by Mr. Honwad, he had taken "help" from Khajappa and Yalagurappa for "campaigning" during the last gram panchayat elections, for which he had to pay Rs. 50,000. An advance payment of Rs. 10,000 was made during the election, and the rest was to be paid.

Three days ago, according to Mr. Honwad, Khajappa and Yalagurappa met him at Indi bus stand, and set a deadline for Monday for clearing the balance payment.

Mr. Honwad could mobilise only Rs. 10,000 and met them at Gunaki Cross. Khajappa and Yalagurappa, who were annoyed, reportedly fired at him. However, Mr. Honwad managed to escape in the darkness and informed the police about the attack, around midnight.

The Bijapur Superintendent of Police, who supervised the operation, said the combing operation was started swiftly by forming six teams.

Already the police had some clue about the movement of the wanted men and traced them at Minchinal Railway Station, about 7 km from Gunaki Cross. On seeing the police, they started running.

The police chased them for some distance.

When the two were asked to surrender, they allegedly fired at police and threw stones at the police jeep. The police retaliated killing them instantly.

While Khajappa was from Balundagi, the other was from Shirawal, both in Afzalpur taluk of Gulburga district.

Three murder cases, and one each with regard to escape from police custody and assault were pending against Khajappa in Bijapur and Gulburga districts. Two cases of murder and a case of attempt to murder were pending against Yalgurappa.

Sources in the police said that the relationship the dead had with Mr. Honwad is under investigation.

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