//Self-proclaimed Hindu sant, 7 others killed

Self-proclaimed Hindu sant, 7 others killed

LUCKNOW: Listed gangster-turned self-proclaimed spiritual guru Sadanand Tewari alias Sant Gyaneshwar and seven of his "disciples", including four women, were sprayed with bullets at Bagaha crossing in Handia police circle of Allahabad on Friday evening.

Nearly 200 rounds of prohibited bore weapons, including AK series rifles, Thompson machine carbine (TMC) and 9 mm pistols, were fired at Tewari’s motorcade, as it headed for his Rauniya Ashram in Varanasi after winding up his camp at Magh mela in Allahabad.

Senior police officials had rushed to the site, 60 kilometres from Allahabad city. Condition of four of the injured is stated to be critical.  In Lucknow, after an update on the issue, chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav ordered the Special Task Force (STF) to investigate the case.

 Senior police officials did not rule out involvement of Sonu, a Samajwadi Party (SP) MLA from Sultanpur. In 1998, Tewari allegedly had got murdered Soun’s fater Indra Bhadra Singh, then an MLA. Reports reaching Lucknow, said that as Tewari’s fleet of five cars reached Handia police circle on the outskirts of Allahabad around 7 pm, a blue Marshal jeep, intercepted it.

Occupants of the blue vehicle then targetted the vehicle in which Tewari was sitting with his disciples and sprayed bullets from all side and sped away. Thereafter, police found the Marshal jeep used by the assailants, abandoned at a short distance from the scene of crime.

 Eye-witnesses reportedly told the police that occupants of the Marshal jeep got into a Scorpio and a Qualis waiting for them, and sped away.  "Though the exact number of assailants was unknown, the manner in which the bullets were sprayed on the vehicles suggests that at least 60 rounds were fired," said an eye-witnesses talking to TOI over the phone.

"There were some passers by who were shot in the incident but have been missing from the scene after help reached the site," he said expressing possibilities of the casualty figures being much higher than what has been confirmed officially.

At least 15 cases of heinous crimes, including eight of murder were registered against Sadanand. In 1981, he had sot dead a district panchayat member Anand Mohan.  Thereafter, in 1983 he and his gang hurled crude bombs on the then DM of Gopalganj in Bihar, Mahesh Prasad, killing him on the spot.

[ Saturday, February 11, 2006 02:10:58 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK