LUCKNOW — The death toll in Friday’s sensational shootout at a criminal-turned-sadhu and his entourage near Allahabad town rose to eight with two of the injured succumbing to their bullet wounds overnight.
Self-proclaimed sadhu Gyaneshwar Misra and eight others accompanying him were shot at while they were returning after visiting the annual Magh Mela at about 8pm at Handiya, 40km from Allahabad. The sadhu and five associates, including four women, died instantly.
According to state Principal Home Secretary Alok Sinha, Misra was allegedly involved in the murder of a senior government functionary in Bihar as well as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Uttar Pradesh more than a decade ago. He was facing charges in at least 15 cases of heinous crimes, including eight murders. He had donned saffron robes and declared himself as a holy man. Ruling out involvement of any militant organisation in the killing, Sinha said it could a retaliatory killing. No arrests have been made so far. Investigations in the case have been entrusted to the state’s Special Task Force.